Human Milk Oligosaccharide 3'-galactosyllactose can protect the intestinal barrier to challenges

Research undertaken at the University of Utrecht established a link between HMO 3'-galactosyllactose (3’GL) and protection of the intestinal barrier. 3’GL is one of more than 1000 individual oligosaccharides found in human breast milk, which are known to play an essential role in the development of the mucosal immune system and postnatal growth. The GL family, consisting of 3’GL, 4’ GL and 6’ GL are all present in human breastmilk and are formed of Galactose and Lactose (Gal-Lac). The GL family differ only in the attachment positions the Galactose, whereby the Galactose in 3’Gl attaches to the 3rd carbon, 4’GL the 4th carbon etc. In this study, intestinal cells were grown in a transwell system to model the infants intestine. This model was treated with 3’GL, 4’GL and 6’GL for 24 hours. Afterwards, the membranes were exposed to a  fungal toxin, which triggers the breakdown of the intestinal membrane. The intestinal membranes treated with 3’GL withstood the effects of exposure to the toxin better than those treated with 4’GL and 6’GL. All galactosyllactose compounds assessed protected the intestinal membrane from inflammation, as established by a reduction of the levels of IL-8 present in the intestinal barrier when compared to a control

Kendamil is one of the only infant formulas which contains the HMO 3’GL.


Varasteh, S., et al. “Human milk oligosaccharide 3′-galactosyllactose can protect the intestinal barrier to challenges.” J. Pediatr. Gastroenterol. Nutr 68 (2019).

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