Metabolomic Diversity of Human Milk Cells over the Course of Lactation - A Preliminary Study

Human milk (HM) is a complex biofluid containing a wide cell variety including epithelial cells and leukocytes. However, the cellular compositions and their phenotypic properties over the course of lactation are poorly understood. The aim of this preliminary study was to characterize the cellular metabolome of HM over the course of lactation. Cells were isolated via centrifugation and the cellular fraction was characterized via cytomorphology and immunocytochemical staining. Cell metabolites were extracted and analyzed using ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled to quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-QqTOF-MS) in the positive and negative electrospray ionization modes. Immunocytochemical analysis revealed a high variability of the number of detected cells with relative median abundances of 98% of glandular epithelial cells, 1% of leukocytes, and 1% of keratinocytes. Significant correlations between the milk postnatal age with percentage of epithelial cells and leukocytes, and with total cell count were observed. Results from the Hierarchical Cluster Analysis of immunocytochemical profiles were very similar to those observed in the analysis of the metabolomic profiles. In addition, metabolic pathway analysis showed alterations in seven metabolic pathways correlating with postnatal age. This work paves the way for future investigations on changes in the metabolomic fraction of the cellular compartment of HM.
Bibliographic reference
Moreno Torres, Marta Ten Doménech, Isabel Cascant Vilaplana, Mari Merce Navarro Esteve, Víctor Felderer, Birgit Moreno Giménez, Alba Rienda, Iván Gormaz, María Perez Guaita, David Quintás Soriano, Guillermo Kuligowski, Julia 2023 Metabolomic Diversity of Human Milk Cells over the Course of Lactation - A Preliminary Study Nutrients 15 5 1 15