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Open AccessArticle

Endocannabinoid Metabolome Characterization of Transitional and Mature Human Milk

Louisiana State University and Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
Center for Drug Discovery, Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA
Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(9), 1294;
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 8 September 2018 / Accepted: 11 September 2018 / Published: 12 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Breastfeeding and Human Lactation)
Recognized as the gold standard, human milk (HM) is an extremely complex yet fascinating biofluid tailored to meet an infant’s nutritional requirements throughout development. Endocannabinoids and endocannabinoid-like compounds (endocannabinoid metabolome, ECM) are endogenous lipid mediators derived from long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids that have been identified in HM. Previous research has shown that arachidonoylglycerol might play a role in establishing the infant’s suckling response during lactation by activating the type 1 cannabinoid receptor in the infant’s brain. The mechanisms of action and the role of the ECM in HM are not fully understood. Transitional and mature milk samples were collected from lactating women (n = 24) for ECM characterization, quantification, and to evaluate differences among the two stages. HM samples were analyzed by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Identified members of the ECM were: arachidonoylethanolamine, palmitoylethanolamine, oleoylethanolamine, docosahexaenoylethanolamine, eicoapentaenoylethanolamine, eicosenoylethanolamine, arachidonoylglycerol, palmitoyglycerol, oleoylglycerol, docosahexaenoylglycerol, eicosapentaenoylglycerol, eiconenooylglycerol, arachidonic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, and eicosapentaenoic acid. Only docosahexaenoylglycerol was different across transitional and mature milk (p ≤ 0.05). Data from this cohort suggest that bioactive constituents in HM may also play a role in infant health and development. Future studies can be developed based on this study’s data to help elucidate specific roles for each ECM member in addition to understanding how the ECM modulates infant health. View Full-Text
Keywords: fatty acids; long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids; endocannabinoids; infant health; breast milk fatty acids; long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids; endocannabinoids; infant health; breast milk
MDPI and ACS Style

Gaitán, A.V.; Wood, J.T.; Zhang, F.; Makriyannis, A.; Lammi-Keefe, C.J. Endocannabinoid Metabolome Characterization of Transitional and Mature Human Milk. Nutrients 2018, 10, 1294.

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