Brown Fat-Activating Lipokine 12,13-diHOME in Human Milk Is Associated with Infant Adiposity

Danielle Wolfs, Matthew D. Lynes, Yu Hua Tseng, Stephanie Pierce, Valerie Bussberg, Abena Darkwah, Vladimir Tolstikov, Niven R. Narain, Michael C. Rudolph, Michael A. Kiebish, Ellen W. Demerath, David A. Fields, Elvira Isganaitis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Context: Little is known about the specific breastmilk components responsible for protective effects on infant obesity. Whether 12,13-dihydroxy-9Z-octadecenoic acid (12,13-diHOME), an oxidized linoleic acid metabolite and activator of brown fat metabolism, is present in human milk, or linked to infant adiposity, is unknown. Objective: To examine associations between concentrations of 12,13-diHOME in human milk and infant adiposity. Design: Prospective cohort study from 2015 to 2019, following participants from birth to 6 months of age. Setting: Academic medical centers. Participants: Volunteer sample of 58 exclusively breastfeeding mother-infant pairs; exclusion criteria included smoking, gestational diabetes, and health conditions with the potential to influence maternal or infant weight gain. Main Outcome Measures: Infant anthropometric measures including weight, length, body mass index (BMI), and body composition at birth and at 1, 3, and 6 months postpartum. Results: We report for the first time that 12,13-diHOME is present in human milk. Higher milk 12,13-diHOME level was associated with increased weight-for-length Z-score at birth (β = 0.5742, P = 0.0008), lower infant fat mass at 1 month (P = 0.021), and reduced gain in BMI Z-score from 0 to 6 months (β = -0.3997, P = 0.025). We observed similar associations between infant adiposity and milk abundance of related oxidized linoleic acid metabolites 12,13-Epoxy-9(Z)-octadecenoic acid (12,13-epOME) and 9,10-Dihydroxy-12-octadecenoic acid (9,10-diHOME), and metabolites linked to thermogenesis including succinate and lyso-phosphatidylglycerol 18:0. Milk abundance of 12,13-diHOME was not associated with maternal BMI, but was positively associated with maternal height, milk glucose concentration, and was significantly increased after a bout of moderate exercise. Conclusions: We report novel associations between milk abundance of 12,13-diHOME and adiposity during infancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E943-E956
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
: D.A.F. and E.W.D. are supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health under award number R01HD080444

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s).


  • 12
  • 13-diHOME
  • breastmilk
  • brown fat activators
  • infant adiposity
  • infant metabolism
  • thermogenic metabolites


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