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Genomics of lactation: role of nutrigenomics and nutrigenetics in the fatty acid composition of human milk

  • Elizabeth Sosa-Castillo (a1), Maricela Rodríguez-Cruz (a1) and Carolina Moltó-Puigmartí (a1)

Human milk covers the infant’s nutrient requirements during the first 6 months of life. The composition of human milk progressively changes during lactation and it is influenced by maternal nutritional factors. Nowadays, it is well known that nutrients have the ability to interact with genes and modulate molecular mechanisms impacting physiological functions. This has led to a growing interest among researchers in exploring nutrition at a molecular level and to the development of two fields of study: nutrigenomics, which evaluates the influence of nutrients on gene expression, and nutrigenetics, which evaluates the heterogeneous individual response to nutrients due to genetic variation. Fatty acids are one of the nutrients most studied in relation to lactation given their biologically important roles during early postnatal life. Fatty acids modulate transcription factors involved in the regulation of lipid metabolism, which in turn causes a variation in the proportion of lipids in milk. This review focuses on understanding, on the one hand, the gene transcription mechanisms activated by maternal dietary fatty acids and, on the other hand, the interaction between dietary fatty acids and genetic variation in genes involved in lipid metabolism. Both of these mechanisms affect the fatty acid composition of human milk.

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* Corresponding author: M. Rodriguez-Cruz, fax +52 56276944, email
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