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Title:The role of oligosaccharides in cognitive development
Author(s):Fleming, Stephen Andrew
Director of Research:Dilger, Ryan N; Khan, Naiman A
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Dilger, Ryan N; Khan, Naiman A
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Donovan, Sharon M; Butts-Wilmsmeyer, Carolyn J; Berg, Brian M
Department / Program:Neuroscience Program
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:Not all mothers are able to breastfeed and there is significant evidence demonstrating breastfed infants outperform their formula-fed peers in cognitive development. Beyond the disparity between these two populations, human milk is one of the most complex foods, acting as the sole source of nutrition for infants and containing thousands of bioactive components. One of these components, the third highest by dry matter content, is oligosaccharides. Humans milk contains the most concentrated and diverse number of oligosaccharides than any other mammal known. They function to enhance immunity, protect against pathogens, and potentially stimulate brain development. The mechanisms by which these indigestible and fermentable carbohydrates impact the brain is largely unknown, however. Reports from rodent research suggest oligosaccharides in milk can improve memory and protect against anxiety. To investigate these possible effects, we used the pig as an animal model. The pig is a large animal with strikingly similar neuroanatomy and gastrointestinal physiology to the human. We demonstrate that the pig can be used to investigate the development of recognition memory and use this to explore the impact of various oligosaccharides on cognitive development. Ultimately, we demonstrate a relationship between fermentative metabolites of oligosaccharides, volatile fatty acids, and recognition memory. This relationship may be one of many potential axes within the gut-brain-axis. The results from this body of work should inform future research in the exploration of the gut-brain-axis and may point towards potentials modes of entry for modulation of this system.
Issue Date:2019-07-09
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Stephen Fleming
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-11-26
Date Deposited:2019-08

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