A Gently Processed Skim Milk-Derived Whey Protein Concentrate for Infant Formula: Effects on Gut Development and Immunity in Preterm Pigs

Karoline Aasmul-Olsen, Halise Gül Akıllıoğlu, Line Iadsatian Christiansen, Kasper Engholm-Keller, Anders Brunse, Denitsa Vladimirova Stefanova, Ann Bjørnshave, Mie Rostved Bechshøft, Kerstin Skovgaard, Thomas Thymann, Per Torp Sangild, Marianne Nissen Lund, Stine Brandt Bering*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Scope: Processing of whey protein concentrate (WPC) for infant formulas may induce protein modifications with severe consequences for preterm newborn development. The study investigates how conventional WPC and a gently processed skim milk-derived WPC (SPC) affect gut and immune development after birth.
Methods and results: Newborn, preterm pigs used as a model of preterm infants were fed formula containing WPC, SPC, extra heat-treated SPC (HT-SPC), or stored HT-SPC (HTS-SPC) for 5 days. SPC contained no protein aggregates and more native lactoferrin, and despite higher Maillard reaction product (MRP) formation, the clinical response and most gut and immune parameters are similar to WPC pigs. SPC feeding negatively impacts intestinal MRP accumulation, mucosa, and bacterial diversity. In contrast, circulating T-cells are decreased and oxidative stress- and inflammation-related genes are upregulated in WPC pigs. Protein aggregation and MRP formation increase in HTS-SPC, leading to reduced antibacterial activity, lactase/maltase ratio, circulating neutrophils, and cytotoxic T-cells besides increased gut MRP accumulation and expression of TNFAIP3.
Conclusions: The gently processed SPC has more native protein, but higher MRP levels than WPC, resulting in similar tolerability but subclinical adverse gut effects in preterm pigs. Additional heat treatment and storage further induce MRP formation, gut inflammation, and intestinal mucosal damage.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2300458
JournalMolecular Nutrition and Food Research
Volume68
Issue number6
Number of pages18
ISSN1613-4125
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords

  • Bioactive whey protein
  • Gut maturation
  • Maillard reaction products
  • Preterm neonates
  • Infant formula

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