Skim milk powder with high content of Maillard reaction products affect weight gain, organ development and intestinal inflammation in early life in rats

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: The intestinal tract is important for development of immune tolerance and disturbances are suggested to trigger autoimmune disorders. The aim of this study was to explore the effect of Maillard products in skim milk powder obtained after long storage, compared to fresh skim milk powder. Methods: Young rats were weaned onto a diet based on skim milk powder with high concentration of Maillard products (HM-SM, n = 18) or low (C-SM, n = 18) for one week or four weeks. Weekly body weight and feed consumption were noted. At the end, organ weights, intestinal histology, permeability and inflammatory cytokines were evaluated. Results: Rats fed with HM-SM had after one week, 15% less weight gain than controls, despite equal feed intake. After one week thymus and spleen were smaller, intestinal mucosa thickness was increased and acute inflammatory cytokines (IL-17, IL-1β, MCP-1) were elevated. After four weeks, cytokines associated with chronic intestinal inflammation (fractalkine, IP-10, leptin, LIX, MIP-2, RANTES and VEGF) were increased in rats fed with HM-SM compared to C-SM. Conclusion: High content of Maillard products in stored milk powder caused an intestinal inflammation. Whether this is relevant for tolerance development and future autoimmune diseases remains to be explored.


External organisations
  • The Kielanowski Institute of Animal Physiology and Nutrition of the Polish Academy of Sciences
  • Skåne University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Food Science
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology


  • Autoimmune diseases, Immune tolerance, Inflammatory cytokines, Intestinal inflammation, Maillard reactions
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-84
Number of pages7
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Mar 1
Publication categoryResearch