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Open AccessArticle

Alpha-Lactalbumin Enriched Whey Protein Concentrate to Improve Gut, Immunity and Brain Development in Preterm Pigs

1
Department of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, Comparative Pediatrics and Nutrition, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, 1870 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
2
Department of Food Science, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, 1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
3
Department of Pediatrics, USDA-ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA
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Department of Biomedical Sciences and Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark
5
Arla Foods Ingredients, 8260 Viby J, Denmark
6
Department of Neonatology, Rigshospitalet, 2200 Copenhagen, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(1), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12010245
Received: 9 December 2019 / Revised: 9 January 2020 / Accepted: 14 January 2020 / Published: 17 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Clinical Nutrition)
Human milk is rich in nutritional factors, such as alpha-lactalbumin (α-Lac), and important for neonatal development, but nutrient supplementation may be required for optimal growth. Using a pig model, we hypothesized that α-Lac-enriched whey protein concentrate (WPC) supplementation improves neonatal development. Cesarean-delivered preterm pigs were fed either dilute bovine milk (REF) or REF milk supplemented with WPC with normal (STANDARD-ALPHA) or high (HIGH-ALPHA) α-Lac. Clinical, gut, immune and cognitive endpoints (open field, T-maze) were assessed and tissues collected at Day 19. The growth of STANDARD-ALPHA and HIGH-ALPHA were higher than REF (31 vs. 19 g/kg/d). Most organ weights, gut, immunity and brain variables were similar between WPC groups. HIGH-ALPHA had a higher bone mineral content, colon microbial diversity and an abundance of specific bacteria and microbial metabolites, and tended to show a faster food transit time (p = 0.07). Relative to REF, WPC pigs showed higher relative organ weights, blood amino acids, blood neutrophil function, and microbial metabolites, but lower brush-border enzyme activities and plasma cortisol. Cognition outcomes did not differ among the groups. In conclusion, WPC supplementation of milk improved some growth, gut and immunity parameters in preterm pigs. However, increasing the α-Lac content beyond human milk levels had limited effects on the immature gut and developing brain. View Full-Text
Keywords: alpha-lactalbumin; bioactive milk; preterm; growth; gut; immunity; cognition; microbiota; nutrition alpha-lactalbumin; bioactive milk; preterm; growth; gut; immunity; cognition; microbiota; nutrition
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Nielsen, C.H.; Hui, Y.; Nguyen, D.N.; Ahnfeldt, A.M.; Burrin, D.G.; Hartmann, B.; Heckmann, A.B.; Sangild, P.T.; Thymann, T.; Bering, S.B. Alpha-Lactalbumin Enriched Whey Protein Concentrate to Improve Gut, Immunity and Brain Development in Preterm Pigs. Nutrients 2020, 12, 245.

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