Background: Links between early life exposures and long-term health outcomes may in part be due to nutritional programming, and suggested benefits of breast feeding during infancy include reduced risk of obesity and metabolic disease. Mechanisms remain unexplained but potential differences in lipid exposures during infancy may be involved.
Objective and hypotheses: To explore the effects of breast- or formula-feeding on lipidomic profiles we used recently established high-resolution mass-spectrometry (HRMS) methods to interrogate dried blood spot (DBS) samples from a large representative birth cohort study.
Method: Lipidomic profiles were analysed in 3.2 mm DBS collected at ages 3 months (n=241) and 12 months (n=144) using HRMS. Lipid species were compared between infants exclusively breast-fed, formula-fed or mixed-fed, and associations with 12-month infancy weight were investigated. Data analysis used supervised multivariate statistics (PLS-DA) and univariate analysis with Bonferronis correction for multiple testing.
Results: Three-month lipidomic profiles differed widely between breast- and formula-fed infants; mixed-fed infants showed intermediate profiles. Lipidomic characteristics of breast-fed infants included: higher total phosphatidylcholines (PC), with lower short chain unsaturated PC and higher long chain polyunsaturated PC; higher cholesterol esters and sphingomyelins differences. 12-month lipidomic profiles were markedly different to those at 3 months, but effects of earlier breast/formula/mixed-feeding were no longer seen. However, several of the 3-month lipid differences associated with breast-feeding, such as lower PC 34:1 and PC-O 34:1, and higher PC 38:4, were associated with higher or lower 12 month infant weight respectively.
Conclusion: State of the art HRMS methods with DBS showed striking differences in lipidomic profiles between breast-fed and formula-fed infants, and changes with age. Links between lipidomic profiles reflecting association with breast-feeding at 3 months and 12-month weight may indicate that this approach could inform future neonatal nutritional interventions.
20 - 22 Sep 2014
European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology