Human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) are the third most abundant solid ingredient in breast milk. These sugars – unique to human milk – protect newborns from disease and infection, establish healthy gut bacteria, and are essential for infant brain, intestinal, and immune system development.
Inaugural studies of HMOs have found many potential benefits for the incorporation of HMOs in infant formula as well as medications for adults. They have been found not only to restore beneficial microorganisms to the gut, but also function as a natural antiviral, inhibit growth of pathogenic bacteria, and inhibit tumor cell growth. In addition, HMO profiling has been used to evaluate infant digestive development, diarrhea incidence, morbidity and mortality, body composition, and risk of developing certain disorders.
Upon discovering these highly beneficial roles for HMOs, biopharmaceutical companies have begun to incorporate 1 or 2 of the abundant HMOs in their infant formula, and it is anticipated that more HMOs will be added in the future to better mimic the complete nutrition provided by natural breastmilk. However, the specific functions and interactions of these carbohydrates are still largely unstudied and there remains much potential for their application as biomarkers or in the development of drugs and infant formula.
The HMO Glycan Microarray is designed to make the investigation of HMOs easy and efficient. As leaders in the glycan microarray industry we have developed sensitive, high density arrays for the research of glycan-binding proteins and antibodies. Using minimal sample volume and only a few hours, these arrays can be tested with cells, antibodies, or other proteins to determine which HMOs interact and give insight into the functions of these HMOs and their binding partners.
Example: HMO Glycan Microarray on 8 subarray format. A subarray assayed with biotinylated AAL lectin (10 μg/ml), followed by streptavidin-Cy3 (1 μg/ml). The array was scanned with GenePix scanner at 450 PMT and 100% laser power at 532nm wavelength. The positive control shows binding as expected. All HMOs containing fucose show fluorescent binding signal.