A milk formula containing maltodextrin, vs. lactose, as main carbohydrate source, improves cognitive performance of piglets in a spatial task

Caroline Clouard, Cindy Le Bourgot, Frédérique Respondek, J.E. Bolhuis, Walter J.J. Gerrits*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

In recent years, lactose-free and low-lactose infant formulas have been increasingly used. The impact of using different carbohydrates than lactose on later cognition of formula-fed infants remains, however, unknown. We examined the effects of providing formulas containing either digestible maltodextrin or lactose as main carbohydrate source (28% of total nutrient composition) on cognitive performance of piglets. Piglets received the formulas from 1 to 9 weeks of age and, starting at 12 weeks, were individually tested in a spatial holeboard task (n = 8 pens/formula), in which they had to learn and memorize a configuration of baited buckets. After 28 acquisition trials, piglets were subjected to 16 reversal trials in which the location of the baited buckets was changed. Piglets fed the maltodextrin-based formula had higher reference memory (RM) scores than piglets fed the lactose-based formula towards the end of acquisition. During the switch of configuration, piglets offered the maltodextrin-based formula tended to have higher RM scores and make fewer RM errors than piglets offered the lactose-based formula. Working (short-term) memory was not affected by the formulas. Compared to lactose, the use of maltodextrin in milk formulas improved long-term spatial memory of piglets, even weeks after the end of the intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9433
JournalScientific Reports
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2018

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