Differences in direct pharmacologic effects and antioxidative properties of mature breast milk and infant formulas.


Journal Article

OBJECTIVE: Early-onset and exclusive breast-feeding provides a significant health benefit to infants compared with infant formulas. The aim of this study was to compare mature breast milk with standard infant formulas by examining their effects on non-vascular smooth muscle contraction and their antioxidative properties. METHODS: The pharmacologic effects of breast milk and formulas were examined using a model system of the rat uterine smooth muscle contraction. Electron paramagnetic resonance spin-trapping spectroscopy was used to compare the antioxidative capacities of breast milk (obtained in the ninth week of lactation) with commercial infant formulas against hydroxyl radical production in the Fenton reaction. The activities of superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and the sulfhydryl group were determined in the breast milk and infant formulas. RESULTS: In contrast to the infant formulas, breast milk exerted a relaxing effect on isolated non-vascular smooth muscle. In general, breast milk showed higher antioxidative activity compared with the infant formulas. In all samples, the generation of hydroxyl radicals led to the formation of carbon-centered and ascorbyl radicals. CONCLUSIONS: Human milk exerts direct pharmacologic relaxation effects and provides better antioxidant protection compared with infant formulas because of the presence of specific enzymatic components, such as human superoxide dismutase. We propose that these effects should be advantageous to an infant's gastrointestinal tract by supporting the normal work of the smooth musculature and maintaining redox homeostasis and may represent one of the mechanisms by which breast-feeding benefits health.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Lugonja, N; Spasić, SD; Laugier, O; Nikolić-Kokić, A; Spasojević, I; Oreščanin-Dušić, Z; Vrvić, MM

Published Date

  • February 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 29 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 431 - 435

PubMed ID

  • 23312765

Pubmed Central ID

  • 23312765

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-1244

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0899-9007

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.nut.2012.07.018


  • eng