rRNA probes used to quantify the effects of glycomacropeptide and alpha-lactalbumin supplementation on the predominant groups of intestinal bacteria of infant rhesus monkeys challenged with enteropathogenic Escherichia coli

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2003 Sep;37(3):273-80. doi: 10.1097/00005176-200309000-00014.


Objectives: Certain milk factors may help to promote the growth of a host-friendly colonic microflora (e.g. bifidobacteria, lactobacilli) and explain why breast-fed infants experience fewer and milder intestinal infections than those who are formula-fed. The effects of supplementation of formula with two such milk factors was investigated in this study.

Materials and methods: Infant rhesus macaques were breast-fed, fed control formula, or formula supplemented with glycomacropeptide (GMP) or alpha-lactalbumin (alpha-LA) from birth to 5 months of age. Blood was drawn monthly and rectal swabs were collected weekly. At 4.5 months of age, 10(8) colony-forming units of enteropathogenic E.coli O127, strain 2349/68 (EPEC) was given orally and the response to infection assessed. The bacteriology of rectal swabs pre- and post-infection was determined by culture independent fluorescence in situ hybridization.

Results: Post-challenge, breast-fed infants and infants fed alpha-LA-supplemented formula had no diarrhea, whilst those infants fed GMP-supplemented formula had intermittent diarrhea. In infants fed control formula the diarrhea was acute.

Conclusions: Supplementation of infant formula with appropriate milk proteins may be useful for improving the infant's ability to resist acute infection caused by E.coli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Bifidobacterium / growth & development
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development*
  • Glycopeptides / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Infant
  • Infant Food
  • Infant Formula*
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena*
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lactalbumin / administration & dosage*
  • Lactobacillus / growth & development
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Models, Animal
  • RNA, Ribosomal / analysis
  • Rectum / microbiology


  • Glycopeptides
  • RNA, Ribosomal
  • Lactalbumin