Capillary electrophoresis of acidic oligosaccharides from human milk

Electrophoresis. 2008 Jun;29(12):2508-15. doi: 10.1002/elps.200700873.


Interest in defining the array of oligosaccharides of human milk has been increasing. Pathogens that bind glycans on their host mucosal surfaces may be inhibited by human milk oligosaccharides. It has been postulated that acidic oligosaccharides in human milk may inhibit binding by pathogens that bind acidic glycans in the gut, but testing this hypothesis requires their reliable quantification in milk. Sialyloligosaccharides of human milk have been quantified by HPLC and CE. A recent CE technique uses the MEKC mode with direct detection at 205 nm to resolve and quantify, in the native form, the 12 most dominant sialyloligosaccharides of human milk in a single 35-min run. The method gives a linear response from 39 to 2500 microg/mL with a coefficient of variation between 2 to 9% and accuracy from 93 to 109%. This was used to detect variation in expression of specific sialyloligosaccharides in milk. Individual sialyloligosaccharide concentrations in milk differ among individual donors and between less and more mature milk. Thus, CE can be used to measure variation in sialyloligosaccharide expression in milk, and thereby test the relationship of this variation-to-variation in risk of specific diseases in breastfed infants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Electrophoresis, Capillary
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Milk, Human / chemistry*
  • Oligosaccharides / analysis*


  • Oligosaccharides
  • sialooligosaccharides