Angela Zivkovic and colleagues have published a new paper on the “Growth and Morbidity of Gambian Infants are Influenced by Maternal Milk Oligosaccharides and Infant Gut Microbiota.”
Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) play an important role in the health of an infant as substrate for beneficial gut bacteria. Little is known about the effects of HMO composition and its changes on the morbidity and growth outcomes of infants living in areas with high infection rates.
In the study, mother’s HMO composition and infant gut microbiota from 33 Gambian mother/infant pairs at 4, 16, and 20 weeks postpartum were analyzed for relationships between HMOs, microbiota, and infant morbidity and growth. The data indicate that lacto-N-fucopentaose I was associated with decreased infant morbidity, and 3′-sialyllactose was found to be a good indicator of infant weight-for-age. Because HMOs, gut microbiota, and infant health are interrelated, the relationship between infant health and their microbiome were analyzed.
While bifidobacteria were the dominant genus in the infant gut overall, Dialister and Prevotella were negatively correlated with morbidity, and Bacteroides was increased in infants with abnormal calprotectin. Mothers nursing in the wet season (July to October) produced significantly less oligosaccharides compared to those nursing in the dry season (November to June).
These results suggest that specific types and structures of HMOs are sensitive to environmental conditions, protective of morbidity, predictive of growth, and correlated with specific microbiota.
Angela Zivkovic has been selected to be a 2016-2017 UC Davis Hellman Fellow! The Hellman Family Foundation contributed funds to establish the UC Davis Hellman Fellows Program to provide support and encouragement for the research of promising Assistant Professors who exhibit potential for great distinction in their research, and who have documented a need for funding. It is expected that the fellowship will support research and creative activities that will promote career advancement and enhance the individual’s progress toward tenure.
This is the ninth year of the UC Davis Hellman Fellows Program, and applicants in many disciplines across the campus were selected for awards. To honor Dr. Zivkovic and the other 2016-2017 Hellman Fellows, in May 2017 there will be a luncheon for the Fellows and the Hellman Family Foundation members, where the Fellows will be asked to make a short presentation about their research and the impact that the award has made on their research progress.
Dr. Zivkovic presented at the UC Davis Graduate Group in Nutritional Biology seminar series on October 5th, 2015. Her talk was titled “The Changing Face of Lipoproteins: the New Era of Glycobiology.” A summary of her talk is below:
HDL used to just be known as “the good cholesterol.” Now researchers are realizing these versatile little nanoparticles do more than just take cholesterol out of the arteries. HDL particles also have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory functions, and during infection they are remodeled into immune-activating particles. More and more layers of complexity in HDL composition continue to be uncovered. The newest dimension of complexity in HDL is that they are “decorated” with complex sugars, just like the sugars that coat our red blood cells and give us blood type. The role of these complex sugars or glycans in HDL biology is a new field of research that promises to yield exciting results in the years to come.
Dr. Angela Zivkovic was interviewed for the BaterioFiles podcast regarding her recent article “The microbes we eat: abundance and taxonomy of microbes consumed in a day’s worth of meals for three diet types” published in PeerJ in December 2014.
The full article is available for review online.
Listen to the full podcast online.