Background When mother’s own milk is not available, the best alternative is represented by donor milk (DM), i.e., human milk pasteurized with the Holder pasteurization (HoP) method in Human Milk Banks for safe storage. Advantages and disadvantages associated to this procedure have been widely discussed in Literature but currently represent the best compromise between microbiological safety and biological quality of DM.
Objective: The aim of this study is to investigate the effects of HoP on Heme-oxygenase-1 (HO-1), an antioxidant protein involved in several cytoprotective actions that should play an important role in the development and protection of the gastro-enteric tract.
Methods: We collected 42 milk samples and we performed a pretest-test study where the milk donors acted as their own controls in 14 mothers (who have delivered 7 at term and 7 preterm of Gestational Age). Milk samples were divided into two parts: the first was frozen (-80°C); the second was Holder-pasteurized before freezing (-80°C). HO-1 was quantified using an ELISA test.
Results: HO-1 was detected in all samples. There were no significant differences in HO-1 concentrations between term and preterm milk samples (P>0.05). Likewise, no significant differences in HO-1 content were found between raw and pasteurized milk samples (P>0.05). There were no significant differences when studied groups were corrected for milk maturation degree (P>0.05).
Conclusion: The data suggest that HO-1 does not significantly differ between preterm and term milk samples and that HoP does not affect HO-1 concentration in Human Milk.