Extracellular vesicles in human milk

Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2022 May 1;25(3):209-215. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000834. Epub 2022 Mar 3.


Purpose of review: Milk-derived extracellular vesicles (MDEVs) are nanovesicles that carry microRNA (miRNA) DNA, RNA, proteins and lipids. MDEVs have a potential of therapeutic targets, based on their properties and cargo profile. The present review summarizes recent studies on MDEVs, their cargo and potential role in mammalian development.

Recent findings: The detailed characterization of their miRNA cargo leads to the conclusion of their potential importance in the regulation of gene expression, immune function, development and infant growth.While their miRNAs are important regulatory elements and their profile expression was characterized in various mammalian milk sources, little is known about their effect on infant health and development. MiRNA activity in breast milk is likely influenced by the overall ecosystem of the early environment, including maternal characteristics, behaviors, and health.

Summary: MDEVs may have an important role in early child development and infant future health. Understanding benefits of MDEVs characteristics have potential role on gut maturation, immune system development and the prevention of metabolic disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Environment
  • Extracellular Vesicles* / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • MicroRNAs* / metabolism
  • Milk, Human* / metabolism


  • MicroRNAs