Human milk oligosaccharides inhibit rotavirus infectivity in vitro and in acutely infected piglets

Shelly N. Hester, Xin Chen, Min Li, Marcia H. Monaco, Sarah S. Comstock, Theresa B. Kuhlenschmidt, Mark S. Kuhlenschmidt, Sharon M. Donovan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human milk (HM) is rich in oligosaccharides (HMO) that exert prebiotic and anti-infective activities. HM feeding reduces the incidence of rotavirus (RV) infection in infants. Herein, the anti-RV activity of oligosaccharides was tested in an established in vitro system for assessing cellular binding and viral infectivity/replication, and also tested in a newly developed, acute RV infection, in situ piglet model. For the in vitro work, crude HMO isolated from pooled HM, neutral HMO (lacto-N-neotetraose, LNnT; 2′-fucosyllactose) and acidic HMO (aHMO, 3′-sialyllactose, 3′-SL; 6′-sialyllactose, 6′-SL) were tested against the porcine OSU strain and human RV Wa strain. The RV Wa strain was not inhibited by any oligosaccharides. However, the RV OSU strain infectivity was dose-dependently inhibited by sialic acid (SA)-containing HMO. 3′-SL and 6′-SL concordantly inhibited 125I- radiolabelled RV cellular binding and infectivity/replication. For the in situ study, a midline laparotomy was performed on 21-d-old formula-fed piglets and six 10 cm loops of ileum were isolated in situ. Briefly, 2 mg/ml of LNnT, aHMO mixture (40 % 6′-SL/10 % 3′-SL/50 % SA) or media with or without the RV OSU strain (1 × 10 focus-forming units) were injected into the loops and maintained for 6 h. The loops treated with HMO treatments+RV had lower RV replication, as assessed by non-structural protein-4 (NSP4) mRNA expression, than RV-treated loops alone. In conclusion, SA-containing HMO inhibited RV infectivity in vitro; however, both neutral HMO and SA with aHMO decreased NSP4 replication during acute RV infection in situ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1233-1242
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 14 2013


  • Human milk oligosaccharides
  • Infection
  • Piglets
  • Rotavirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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