Bovine milk extracellular vesicles induce the proliferation and differentiation of osteoblasts and promote osteogenesis in rats

J Food Biochem. 2021 Apr;45(4):e13705. doi: 10.1111/jfbc.13705. Epub 2021 Mar 22.


Bone is constantly balanced between the formation of new bone by osteoblasts and the absorption of old bone by osteoclasts. To promote bone growth and improve bone health, it is necessary to promote the proliferation and differentiation of osteoblasts. Although bovine milk is known to exert a beneficial effect on bone formation, the study on the effect of bovine milk extracellular vesicles (EVs) on osteogenesis in osteoblasts is limited. In this study, we demonstrated that bovine milk EVs promoted the proliferation of human osteogenic Saos-2 cells by increasing the expression of cell cycle-related proteins. In addition, bovine milk EVs also induced the differentiation of Saos-2 cells by increasing the expression of RUNX2 and Osterix which are key transcription factors for osteoblast differentiation. Oral administration of milk EVs did not cause toxicity in Sprague-Dawley rats. Furthermore, milk EVs promoted longitudinal bone growth and increased the bone mineral density of the tibia. Our findings suggest that milk EVs could be a safe and powerful applicant for enhancing osteogenesis. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: Until now, calcium and vitamin D have been prescribed to promote bone formation or to prevent bone diseases such as osteoporosis. Recently, several studies to find bioactive molecules that regulate cellular functions of osteoblasts or osteoclasts are actively underway. Milk basic proteins and lactoferrin present in milk are known to promote bone formation, but they exist in small quantities and the isolation of these proteins is complicated making mass production difficult. Recently, it has been found that milk contains large quantities of EVs, and that they promote bone formation. Studies on the effect of Milk EVs on osteoblasts during osteogenesis will help in the development of biomaterials for osteogenesis.

Keywords: extracellular vesicles; milk; osteoblast proliferation; osteogenesis; osteogenic differentiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Extracellular Vesicles*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells*
  • Milk
  • Osteoblasts
  • Osteogenesis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley