Milk-derived extracellular vesicles protect intestinal barrier integrity in the gut-liver axis

Sci Adv. 2023 Apr 14;9(15):eade5041. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.ade5041. Epub 2023 Apr 12.


Milk-derived extracellular vesicles (mEVs) have been proposed as a potential nanomedicine for intestinal disorders; however, their impact on intestinal barrier integrity in gut inflammation and associated metabolic diseases has not been explored yet. Here, mEVs derived from bovine and human breast milk exert similar protective effects on epithelial tight junction functionality in vitro, survive harsh gastrointestinal conditions ex vivo, and reach the colon in vivo. Oral administration of mEVs restores gut barrier integrity at multiple levels, including mucus, epithelial, and immune barriers, and prevents endotoxin translocation into the liver in chemical-induced experimental colitis and diet-induced nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), thereby alleviating gut disorders, their associated liver inflammation, and NASH. Oral administration of mEVs has potential in the treatment of gut inflammation and gut-liver axis-associated metabolic diseases via protection of intestinal barrier integrity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Colitis*
  • Extracellular Vesicles* / metabolism
  • Hepatitis*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Milk / metabolism
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease* / metabolism