Maillard Reaction Products and Lysinoalanine: Urinary Excretion and the Effects on Kidney Function of Preterm Infants Fed Heat-Processed Milk Formula

J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 1992 Jan;14(1):62-70.


Heat processing is essential for the preservation of milk-based infant formulas. Heating, however, induces a number of chemical changes during which lysine in the milk proteins reacts with reducing sugars to form Maillard reaction products (MRPs) and also reacts with the dehydroalanine resulting from cystine degradation to form lysinoalanine (LAL). Both products have been reported to induce histological changes in the straight portion of the proximal tubule in the rat kidney. This pilot study was made to investigate the urinary excretion by healthy preterm babies of MRPs and LAL contained in infant formula and to determine their influence on kidney function. Twelve healthy male preterm babies were first fed for 10 days with pooled human milk and then for 5 days with each of two experimental premature infant formulas in a cross-over design. The infant formulas were sterilized either by ultra-high temperature (UHT) treatment or by a conventional retort process to give products with low and high levels of MRPs and LAL, respectively. In total, some 15.6% of the initial lysine had been modified in the in-can-sterilized product, compared to 6.2% in the UHT product. Urinary excretion of MRP lactulosyllysine ranged from 1.3 to 3.9% of the ingested amount, whereas that of LAL ranged from 6.2 to 9.3%. The higher level of MRPs and LAL in the formulas compared to breast milk had no influence on creatinine clearance or electrolyte excretion. There was no evidence of tubular damage as determined by the urinary excretion of four kidney-derived enzymes. Feeding of formula, however, did result in a general increase in urinary microprotein levels.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Humans
  • Infant Food* / analysis
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature / urine*
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Kidney Glomerulus / metabolism
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / metabolism
  • Lactulose / urine
  • Lysine / urine
  • Lysinoalanine / urine*
  • Maillard Reaction*
  • Male
  • Milk, Human*


  • Lysinoalanine
  • Lactulose
  • Lysine