Exosomes are biomolecular nanostructures released from cells. They carry specific biomolecular information and are mainly researched for their exquisite properties as a biomarker source and delivery system. Researchers from the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute introduce exosomes in the context of other extracellular vesicles, describe their biophysical isolation and characterisation and discuss their biochemical profiling. Motivated by their interest in early-life nutrition and health, and corresponding studies enrolling lactating mothers and their infants, the researchers zoom into exosomes derived from human breast milk. They argue that these should be more extensively studied at proteomic and micronutrient profiling level, because breast milk exosomes provide a more specific window into breast milk quality from an immunological (proteomics) and nutritional (micronutrient) perspective. Such enhanced breast milk exosome profiling would thereby complement and enrich the more classical whole breast milk analysis and is expected to deliver more functional insights than the rather descriptive analysis of human milk, or larger fractions thereof, such as milk fat globule membrane. The researchers substantiate their arguments by a bioinformatic analysis of two published proteomic data sets of human breast milk exosomes.
Protein Network generated with the 188 proteins identified in the combined human breast milk exosome proteomics dataset (Admyre et al.,; Larssen et al.). The red square shows a cluster of chemokines.