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J Transl Med. 2014 Feb 12;12:43. doi: 10.1186/1479-5876-12-43.

Milk: an exosomal microRNA transmitter promoting thymic regulatory T cell maturation preventing the development of atopy?

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Environmental Medicine and Health Theory, University of Osnabrück, Sedanstrasse 115, D-49090 Osnabrück, Germany. melnik@t-online.de.

Abstract

Epidemiological evidence confirmed that raw cow's milk consumption in the first year of life protects against the development of atopic diseases and increases the number of regulatory T-cells (Tregs). However, milk's atopy-protective mode of action remains elusive.This review supported by translational research proposes that milk-derived microRNAs (miRs) may represent the missing candidates that promote long-term lineage commitment of Tregs downregulating IL-4/Th2-mediated atopic sensitization and effector immune responses. Milk transfers exosomal miRs including the ancient miR-155, which is important for the development of the immune system and controls pivotal target genes involved in the regulation of FoxP3 expression, IL-4 signaling, immunoglobulin class switching to IgE and FcϵRI expression. Boiling of milk abolishes milk's exosomal miR-mediated bioactivity. Infant formula in comparison to human breast- or cow's milk is deficient in bioactive exosomal miRs that may impair FoxP3 expression. The boost of milk-mediated miR may induce pivotal immunoregulatory and epigenetic modifications required for long-term thymic Treg lineage commitment explaining the atopy-protective effect of raw cow's milk consumption.The presented concept offers a new option for the prevention of atopic diseases by the addition of physiological amounts of miR-155-enriched exosomes to infant formula for mothers incapable of breastfeeding.

PMID:
24521175
PMCID:
PMC3930015
DOI:
10.1186/1479-5876-12-43
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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