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Lipases in human milk: effect of gestational age and length of lactation on enzyme activity.

Freed LM, et al. J Am Coll Nutr. 1989.


Human milk contains two lipases, bile salt-stimulated lipase (BSSL) and lipoprotein lipase (LPL). In the mammary gland, LPL provides long-chain fatty acid for milk fat synthesis. LPL has no known function in milk, but has been implicated in milk fat hydrolysis during cold storage. BSSL may have an important role in infant fat digestion. The aims of the present studies were to assess (1) the methodological validity of using whole milk to analyze BSSL activity, (2) the longitudinal variation of BSSL and LPL activity in the milk of mothers delivering premature and full-term infants, and (3) the stability of BSSL and LPL activity during cold storage. Diluted whole milk and purified BSSL were shown to have similar characteristics. LPL activity was equally stable at -20 and -70 degrees C, whereas BSSL activity was higher in milks stored at -70 than at -20 degrees C (38.8 +/- 0.88 vs 33.3 +/- 0.87 U/ml milk, respectively; 1U = 1 mumol free fatty acid release/min). Levels of BSSL activity in preterm and term milk were similar. LPL activity tended to be higher in term milk. Overall, BSSL activity showed significant longitudinal variation, being highest at 1 and 3 weeks of lactation (43.2 +/- 0.04 and 42.6 +/- 1.03 U/ml milk, respectively). For LPL, the longitudinal pattern of activity depended upon the length of pregnancy. Implications for infant nutrition and mammary gland biology are discussed.


2708730 [Indexed for MEDLINE]