Thoroughbred mare's milk exhibits a unique and diverse free oligosaccharide profile

KARAV S. , Salcedo J., Frese S. A. , Barile D.

FEBS OPEN BIO, vol.8, no.8, pp.1219-1229, 2018 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 8 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1002/2211-5463.12460
  • Title of Journal : FEBS OPEN BIO
  • Page Numbers: pp.1219-1229


The Thoroughbred is among the most valuable horse breeds, and its husbandry is a major industry. Mare's milk plays a major role in the health of neonatal foals. Although the main components of mare's milk are broadly characterized, free oligosaccharides (OS), which possess various bioactivities in many mammalian milks, have not been fully profiled in Thoroughbreds. The aim of this study was to identify and quantify OS in Thoroughbred mare's milk during the first week of lactation, when foals typically consume mare's milk exclusively. A total of 48 OS structures (including isomers and anomers), corresponding to 20 unique compositions, were identified by nano LC-Chip QToF-MS and confirmed by tandem mass spectrometry. Neutral OS were the most abundant glycans (58.3%), followed by acidic OS containing Neu5Ac (33.3%), a minor presence of fucosylated OS structures (6.25%) and one structure containing NeuGc (2.1%). Comparison with other well-characterized mammalian milks revealed that mare's milk shared 8 OS structures with human, bovine, pig and goat milk (i.e., 2 sialyllactose isomers, 3 hexose, LNH, LNT, and OS with the composition 3 Hex-1 Neu5Ac). Additionally, there were seven unique OS not previously found in other mammal milks. During the first 7 days of lactation, the percentage of neutral and fucosylated OS increased, whereas acidic OS decreased and the total OS concentration ranged from 217.8 mg.L-1 to 79.8 mg.L-1.