Dietary bovine milk exosomes elicit changes in bacterial communities in C57BL/6 mice

Fang Zhou, Henry A. Paz, Mahrou Sadri, Juan Cui, Stephen D. Kachman, Samodha C. Fernando, Janos Zempleni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Exosomes and exosome-like vesicles participate in cell-to-cell communication in animals, plant, and bacteria. Dietary exosomes in bovine milk are bioavailable in nonbovine species, but a fraction of milk exosomes reaches the large intestine. We hypothesized that milk exosomes alter the composition of the gut microbiome in mice. C57BL/6 mice were fed AIN-93G diets, defined by their content of bovine milk exosomes and RNA cargos: Exosome/RNA-depleted (ERD) versus exosome/RNA-sufficient (ERS) diets. Feeding was initiated at age 3 wk, and cecum content was collected at ages 7, 15, and 47 wk. Microbial communities were identified by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Milk exosomes altered bacterial communities in the murine cecum. The abundance of three phyla, seven families, and 52 operational taxonomic units (OTUs) was different in the ceca from mice fed ERD and ERS (P < 0.05). For example, at the phylum level, Tenericutes had more than threefold abundance in ERS mice at ages 15 and 47 wk compared with ERD mice (P < 0.05). At the family level, Verrucomicrobiaceae were much less abundant in ERS mice compared with ERD mice age 47 wk (P < 0.05). At the OTU level, four OTUs from the family of Lachnospiraceae were more than two times more abundant in ERS mice compared with ERD at age 7 and 47 wk (P < 0.05). We conclude that exosomes in bovine milk alter microbial communities in nonbovine species, suggesting that exosomes and their cargos participate in the crosstalk between bacterial and animal kingdoms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G618
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2019


  • Bovine milk
  • Exosomes
  • Microbiome
  • Mouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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