Nutrition and Health Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Ong, S.L.; Blenkiron, C.; Haines, S.; Acevedo-Fani, A.; Leite, J.A.S.; Zempleni, J.; Anderson, R.C.; McCann, M.J. Ruminant Milk Derived Extracellular Vesicles: A Nutritional and Therapeutic Opportunity?Nutrients 2021, 13, 2505. nu13082505




Milk has been shown to contain a specific fraction of extracellular particles that are reported to resist digestion and are purposefully packaged with lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids to exert specific biological effects. These findings suggest that these particles may have a role in the quality of infant nutrition, particularly in the early phase of life when many of the foundations of an infant’s potential for health and overall wellness are established. However, much of the current research focuses on human or cow milk only, and there is a knowledge gap in how milk from other species, which may be more commonly consumed in different regions, could also have these reported biological effects. Our review provides a summary of the studies into the extracellular particle fraction of milk from a wider range of ruminants and pseudo-ruminants, focusing on how this fraction is isolated and characterised, the stability and uptake of the fraction, and the reported biological effects of these fractions in a range of model systems. As the individual composition of milk from different species is known to differ, we propose that the extracellular particle fraction of milk from non-traditional and minority species may also have important and distinct biological properties that warrant further study.