Milk exosomes and a new way of communication between mother and child

Eleni Papakonstantinou, Konstantina Dragoumani, Thanasis Mitsis, George P Chrousos, Dimitrios Vlachakis


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are a heterogeneous group of lipid-bound vesicles released by cells into the extracellular space. EVs are an important mediator of intercellular communications and carry a wide variety of molecules that exert a biological function, such as lipids, nucleic acids, proteins, ions, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Extracellular vesicles are classified into microvesicles, exosomes, and apoptotic bodies depending on their biogenesis and size. Exosomes are spherical lipid-bilayer vesicles with a diameter of about 40 to 100 nm. Exosomes originate from intracellular endosomal compartments, while microvesicles originated directly from a cell’s plasma membrane and apoptotic bodies originate from cells undergoing apoptosis and are released via outward blebbing and fragmentation of the plasma membrane. Specifically, exosomes have garnered great attention since they display great potential as both biomarkers and carriers of therapeutic molecules.


extracellular vesicles; exosome composition; intercellular communication; milk exosomes; maternal-infant communication

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