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Acta Paediatr. 2006 Aug;95(8):996-1000.

Comparison of the phospholipid classes in human milk in Japanese mothers of term and preterm infants.

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Department of Paediatrics, Juntendo University School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.



Phospholipids (PLs) play an essential role in the growth and brain development of infants.


To investigate PL composition in human milk (HM), including lysophosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylinositol, phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylcholine (PC) and sphingomyelin (SM), from healthy Japanese mothers. Analyses were performed on colostrum, transitional milk and mature milk from mothers of preterm and term infants.


HM samples were collected from mothers of 15 term infants (term group) and of 19 preterm infants (preterm group). PL composition was determined by two-dimensional thin-layer chromatography in conjunction with phosphorus analysis.


In both groups, the PL content (% of total lipid) of mature milk was significantly lower than in colostrum. SM and PC were the main PLs in HM, but in the preterm group, the percentage of SM in mature milk was significantly higher and PC in mature milk was significantly lower than in the term group.


The transition from colostrum to mature milk leads to an increase in SM and a decrease in PC in the HM of preterm infants, along with a decrease in PL content. This is the first report to demonstrate the differences in PL composition in HM between mothers of preterm and term infants.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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