Infant formula-feeding is associated with reduced insulin sensitivity. In rodents and healthy humans, advanced glycation end product (AGE)-rich diets exert diabetogenic effects. In comparison with human breast-milk, infant formulas contain high amounts of AGEs. We assessed the role of AGEs in infant-formula-consumption-associated insulin resistance.
Total plasma levels of N(ε)-(carboxymethyl)lysine (CML), AGEs-associated fluorescence (λ(ex) = 370 nm/λ(em) = 445 nm), soluble adhesion molecules, markers of micro- binflammation (hsCRP), oxidative stress (malondialdehyde, 8-isoprostanes) and leptinemia were determined, and correlated with insulin sensitivity in a cross-sectional study in 166 healthy term infants aged 3-to-14 months, subdivided according to feeding regimen (breast-milk- vs. infant formula-fed) and age (3-to-6-month-olds, 7-to-10-month-olds, and 11-to-14-month-old infants). Effects of the consumption of low- vs. high-CML-containing formulas were assessed. 36 infants aged 5.8 ± 0.3 months were followed-up 7.5 ± 0.3 months later.
Cross-sectional study: 3-to-6-month-olds and 7-to-10-month-old formula-fed infants presented higher total plasma CML levels and AGEs-associated fluorescence (p<0.01, both), while only the 3-to-6-month-olds displayed lower insulin sensitivity (p<0.01) than their breast-milk-fed counterparts. 3-to-6-month-olds fed low-CML-containing formulas presented lower total plasma CML levels (p<0.01), but similar insulin sensitivity compared to those on high-CML-containing formulas. Markers of oxidative stress and inflammation, levels of leptin and adhesion molecules did not differ significantly between the groups. Follow-up study: at initial investigation, the breast-milk-consuming infants displayed lower total plasma CML levels (p<0.01) and AGEs-associated fluorescence (p<0.05), but higher insulin sensitivity (p<0.05) than the formulas-consuming infants. At follow-up, the groups did not differ significantly in either determined parameter.
In healthy term infants, high dietary load with CML does not play a pathophysiological role in the induction of infant formula-associated insulin resistance. Whether a high load of AGEs in early childhood affects postnatal programming remains to be elucidated.
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