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Perspective: Milk microRNAs as Important Players in Infant Physiology and Development

Abstract : Evolutionary selective pressure on lactation has resulted in milk that provides far more than simply essential nutrients, delivering a complex repertoire of agents from hormones to intact cells. Human infants are born with low barrier integrity of their gut, which means that many of the complex biopolymer components of milk enter and circulate in lymph and blood, reaching organs throughout the body. Due to this state of gut maturation, all components of milk are potentially part of the crosstalk between mother and infants. This article highlights the functions of milk's complex biopolymers, more specifically the potential role of microRNAs (miRNAs) contained in extracellular vesicles in human milk. miRNAs are key effectors in the regulation of many biological processes during early-age development, and consequently milk-sourced miRNAs must be considered to provide unique biological assets to the infant during breastfeeding. This article interprets the evidence of the potential action of human milk miRNAs on infant development, taking into account their abundance in milk based on the literature and current knowledge. Human milk miRNAs appear to influence lipid and glucose metabolism, gut maturation, neurogenesis, and immunity. We also show growing evidence that human milk miRNAs are epigenetic modulators that play a pivotal role in the regulation of tissue-specific gene expression throughout life. Furthermore, this article addresses the ongoing debate regarding the potential influence of human milk miRNAs on viral infection as a new research area. This article highlights that these bioactive molecules are now being incorporated into our overall understanding of nutrient needs for healthy infant development, preparing each individual infant to succeed as a healthy and protected adult throughout its life. In essence, miRNAs are a new language in the Rosetta stone of health that is mammalian lactation.
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Contributor : Christine Leroux Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, May 25, 2021 - 11:54:56 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, January 27, 2022 - 3:42:25 AM


Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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Christine Leroux, Mathilde Chervet, Bruce German. Perspective: Milk microRNAs as Important Players in Infant Physiology and Development. Advances in Nutrition, 2021, 12 (5), pp.1625-1635. ⟨10.1093/advances/nmab059⟩. ⟨hal-03234311⟩



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