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Gastrointestinal disease


ST3 b-galactoside a-2,3-sialytransferase 4 (ST3GAL4)

Mouse studies suggest removing oligosaccharide sialyl(a2,3)lactose (3SL) from breast milk could help prevent colitis in susceptible infants. In a mouse model of spontaneous colitis, homozygous knockout of St3gal4, which encodes the enzyme that synthesizes 3SL in breast milk, delayed disease onset and decreased disease severity compared with no knockout. In colitis-susceptible newborn mice, 3SL-depleted milk decreased leukocyte infiltration and inflammation in the intestines compared with nondepleted milk. In these susceptible mice, supplementation with 3SL increased intestinal inflammation compared with lactose or water. Next steps could include developing agents or filters to remove 3SL from breast milk and evaluating the resulting milk in colitis-susceptible animals.

SciBX 6(43); doi:10.1038/scibx.2013.1224
Published online Nov. 7, 2013

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Kurakevich, E. et al. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA; published online Oct. 7, 2013;
Contact: Lubor Borsig, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland