Human milk xanthine oxidase and neonatal salivary nucleotide precursors generate hydrogen peroxide; a novel pathway with potential role in regulating oral microflora
Al-Shehri , S. A., Liley, H., Knox, C. L., Henman , M., Cowley, D. M. , Charles, B. G., & Duley, J. A. (2013) Human milk xanthine oxidase and neonatal salivary nucleotide precursors generate hydrogen peroxide; a novel pathway with potential role in regulating oral microflora. Journal Of Paediatrics And Child Health, 49(S2), p. 121.
Background: Xanthine oxidase (XO) is a complex molybdeno-flavoprotein occurring with high activity in the milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) in all mammalian milk and is involved in the final stage of degradation of purine nucleotides. It catalyzes the sequential oxidation of hypoxanthine to xanthine and uric acid, accompanied by production of hydrogen peroxide and superoxide anion. Human saliva has been extensively described for its composition of proteins, electrolytes, cortisol, melatonin and some metabolites such as amino acids, but little is known about nucleotide metabolites.
Method: Saliva was collected with swabs from babies; at full-term 1-4 days, 6-weeks, 6-months and 12-months. Unstimulated fasting (morning) saliva samples were collected directly from 77 adults. Breast milk was collected from 24 new mothers. Saliva was extracted from swabs and ultra-filtered. Nucleotide metabolites were analyzed by RP-HPLC with UV-photodiode array and ESI-MS/MS. XO activity was measured as peroxide production from hypoxanthine. Bacterial inhibition over time was assessed using CFU/mL or OD.
Results: Median concentrations (μmol/L) of salivary nucleobases and nucleosides for neonates/6-weeks/6-months/12-months/adult respectively were: uracil 5.3/0.8/1.4/0.7/0.8, hypoxanthine 27/7.0/1.1/0.8/2.0, xanthine 19/7.0/2.0/2.0/2.0, adenosine 12/7.0/0.9/0.8/0.1, inosine 11/5.0/0.3/0.4/0.2, guanosine 7.0/6.0/0.5/0.4/0.1, uridine 12/0.8/0.3/0.9/0.4. Deoxynucleosides and dihydropyrimidines concentrations were essentially negligible. XO activity (Vmax:mean ± SD) in breast milk was 8.9 ± 6.2 μmol/min/L and endogenous peroxide was 27 ± 12 μmol/L; mixing breast milk with neonate saliva generated ~40 μmol/L peroxide,which inhibited Staphylococcus aureus.
Conclusions: Salivary metabolites, particularly xanthine/hypoxanthine, are high in neonates, transitioning to low adult levels between 6-weeks to 6-months (p < 0.001). Peroxide occurs in breast milk and is boosted during suckling as an antibacterial system.
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