Human breast milk-derived exosomes attenuate cell death in intestinal epithelial cells

Academic Article


  • Human breast milk has been shown to reduce the incidence of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). Breast milk has many components (immunoglobulins, proteins, fat, and, of recent interest, exosomes), but the specific component that affords protection against NEC is not known. Exosomes are small-nanometer vesicles that are rich in protein, lipid, and microRNA. Here, we hypothesized that human breast milk-derived exosomes can protect intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) from cell death. Human breast milk was collected, separated using ultracentrifugation, and quantified using NanoSight tracking analysis. Purified exosomes were added to IECs that had been treated with varying concentrations of H2O2. Cells were then incubated overnight with the human breast milk-derived exosomes and assessed for cell viability. Western blot analysis showed that both clathrin and CD81 were present in the purified sample. Oxidative stress using H2O2 caused a 50% decrease in cell viability and human breast milk-derived exosomes had a protective effect in IECs. In the presence of H2O2, exosomes had a statistically significant protective effect. The protection seen by human breast milk-derived exosomes was not attenuated by cycloheximide. Thus, human breast milk-derived exosomes allow IECs to be protected from oxidative stress, but the mechanism is still not clear. Exosomes derived from human breast milk are an attractive treatment concept for children with intestinal injury.
  • Published In

  • Innate Immunity  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Martin C; Patel M; Williams S; Arora H; Sims B
  • Start Page

  • 278
  • End Page

  • 284
  • Volume

  • 24
  • Issue

  • 5