Immune modulatory function of abundant immune-related microRNAs in microvesicles from bovine colostrum

Protein Cell. 2013 Mar;4(3):197-210. doi: 10.1007/s13238-013-2119-9. Epub 2013 Mar 13.


Colostrum provides essential nutrients and immunologically active factors that are beneficial to newborns. Our previous work demonstrated that milk contains large amounts of miRNA that is largely stored in milk-derived microvesicles (MVs). In the present study, we found that the MVs from colostrum contain significantly higher levels of several immune-related miRNAs. We hypothesized that the colostrum MVs may transfer the immune-related miRNAs into cells, which contribute to its immune modulatory feature. We isolated colostrum MVs by ultracentrifugation and demonstrated several immune modulation features associated with miRNAs. We also provide evidence that the physical structure of milk-derived MVs is essential for transfer miRNAs and following immune modulation effect. Moreover, we found that colostrum powder-derived MVs also contains higher levels of immune-related miRNAs that display similar immune modulation effects. Taken together, these results show that MV-containing immunerelated miRNAs may be a novel mechanism by which colostrum modulates body immune response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Colostrum / metabolism*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Female
  • Liposomes / chemistry
  • Liposomes / isolation & purification
  • Liposomes / metabolism
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • MicroRNAs / immunology
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism*
  • Milk / immunology
  • Milk / metabolism
  • Phagocytosis
  • Pregnancy
  • Ultracentrifugation


  • Cytokines
  • Liposomes
  • MicroRNAs