Among all the body fluids, breast milk is one of the richest sources of microRNAs (miRNAs). MiRNAs packaged within the milk exosomes are bioavailable to breastfeeding infants. The role of miRNAs in determining infant growth and the impact of maternal overweight/obesity on human milk (HM) miRNAs is poorly understood. The objectives of this study were to examine the impact of maternal overweight/obesity on select miRNAs (miR-148a, miR-30b, miR-29a, miR-29b, miR-let-7a and miR-32) involved in adipogenesis and glucose metabolism and to examine the relationship of these miRNAs with measures of infant body composition in the first 6 months of life. Milk samples were collected from a cohort of 60 mothers (30 normal-weight [NW] and 30 overweight [OW]/obese [OB]) at 1-month and a subset of 48 of these at 3 months of lactation. Relative abundance of miRNA was determined using real-time PCR. The associations between the miRNAs of interest and infant weight and body composition at one, three, and six months were examined after adjusting for infant gestational age, birth weight, and sex. The abundance of miR-148a and miR-30b was lower by 30% and 42%, respectively, in the OW/OB group than in the NW group at 1 month. miR-148a was negatively associated with infant weight, fat mass, and fat free mass, while miR-30b was positively associated with infant weight, percent body fat, and fat mass at 1 month. Maternal obesity is negatively associated with the content of select miRNAs in human milk. An association of specific miRNAs with infant body composition was observed during the first month of life, suggesting a potential role in the infant’s adaptation to enteral nutrition.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This research was funded by a Clinician Scientist Development Grant from the Presbyterian Health Foundation, grant number C5121701 and in part by National Institutes of Health, (2R01HD080444; NICHD) https://search.crossref.org/funding.
This research was funded by a Clinician Scientist Development Grant from the Presby-terian Health Foundation, grant number C5121701 and in part by National Institutes of Health, (2R01HD080444; NICHD) https://search.crossref.org/funding.
Acknowledgments: We greatly acknowledge the mothers and the infants who participated in the study and the department of obstetrics and gynecology for their help with patient enrollment. We thank Katy Duncan, Estefania Garcia and Shelly Gulati for their expertise and assistance in the laboratory throughout all aspects of our study. We also greatly acknowledge Ankur Rughani and Kathy Kyler for assistance with technical and language editing and proof reading of the manuscript. We also acknowledge Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation Quantitative Analysis Core for providing statistical analysis that was supported in part by a COBRE grant 1 P30 GM110766-01.
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
- Breast milk microRNA
- Infant growth and body composition
- Maternal obesity