Introduction: Oligosaccharides found in mammalian milk have shown the potential to alter brain development across multiple species. The diversity and concentration of these oligosaccharides is species-specific and varies greatly between individuals, thus understanding their role in cognitive development is warranted. We investigated the impact of early life dietary fucosylated/neutral or sialylated human milk oligosaccharides (HMO) on behaviours in tasks assessing anxiety, motivation, appetite, learning, and memory. Methods: Sixty-four female Göttingen minipigs were artificially reared from 2 weeks postnatal and provided milk replacers. The study used four groups: no additional oligosaccharides (Con), fucosylated and neutral oligosaccharides (FN, 4 g/L), sialylated oligosaccharides (SL, 0.68 g/L), or both FN and SL (FN + SL, 4 g/L) from 2 to 11 weeks postnatal. One reference group was sow-reared. Weaning occurred between 10 and 11 weeks postnatal, and thereafter an obesogenic diet was provided. Behavioral tasks were conducted over three periods: 1) 0–11 weeks; 2) 16–29 weeks; 3) 39–45 weeks. Tasks included a spatial holeboard task, open field task, exposure to a novel object, runway task, single-feed task, and home pen behaviour observation. Results: In the holeboard, the SL group demonstrated improved reference memory during reversal trials between 16-29 weeks. All groups demonstrated equivalent behavior in open field, novel object, runway, and single-feed tasks, as well as in their home pens (Ps > 0.05). Discussion: These results suggest that early life dietary intake of sialylated oligosaccharides may provide an improvement to cognition during the equivalent developmental stage of adolescence.
- Human milk oligosaccharide