Characterization of milk oligosaccharide and sialic acid content and their influence on brain sialic acid in a lean mouse model for gestational diabetes

Fan Liu, Angela J.C. Tol, Folkert Kuipers, Maaike H. Oosterveer, Eline M. van der Beek, Sander S. van Leeuwen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Oligosaccharides and sialic acids (Sia) are bioactive components in milk that contribute to newborn development and health. Hyperglycemia in pregnancy (HIP) can have adverse effects on both mother and infant. HIP is associated with low-grade systemic inflammation. Inflammation influenced glycan composition, particularly of Sia-containing structures. We hypothesize that HIP and high-fat diet influence milk oligosaccharide composition, particularly sialylated oligosaccharides. Furthermore, we propose that milk Sia content influences pup brain Sia content. To test these hypotheses we (i) characterize mouse milk oligosaccharides and Sia concentrations in mouse milk of a GDM mouse model with dietary fat intake intervention; and (ii) determine Sia levels in offspring brains. The concentrations of oligosaccharides and Sia in mouse milk and offspring's brains were quantified using UPLC-FLD analysis. Analyses were performed on surplus samples from a previous study, where HIP was induced by combining high-fat diet (HF) feeding and low-dose streptozotocin injections in C57Bl/6NTac female mice. The previous study described the metabolic effects of HIP on dams and offspring. We detected 21 mouse milk oligosaccharides, including 9 neutral and 12 acidic structures using UPLC-MS. A total of 8 structures could be quantified using UPLC-FLD. Maternal HIP and HF diet during lactation influenced sialylated oligosaccharide concentrations in mouse milk and total and free sialic acid concentrations. Sia content in offspring brain was associated with total and free Neu5Gc in mouse milk of dams, but no correlations with HIP or maternal diet were observed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere24539
Number of pages13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15-Feb-2024


  • Brain
  • Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM)
  • Mouse milk
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Pre-gestational diabetes (PDM)
  • Sialic acids (sia)

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