Stem cells and development

Identification and Characterization of a Stem Cell-Like Population in Bovine Milk: A Potential New Source for Regenerative Medicine in Veterinary.

PMID 30142991


Milk is a complex fluid required for development, nutrition and immunological protection to the newborn offspring. Interestingly, latest finding proved the presence of novel stem cell population in human milk with multilineage differentiation potential. Given that little is known about cellular milk content in other mammalian species such as bovine, the purpose of our study was to isolate and characterize a potential stem cell-like population in bovine milk. In detail, we first analyzed the phenotype of the isolated cells able to grow in plastic adherence and then their capability to differentiate into osteogenic, chondrogenic, and adipogenic lineages. Bovine milk stem cells (bMSCs) resulted plastic adherent and showed a heterogeneous population with epithelial and spindle-shaped cells. Successively, their immunophenotype indicated that bovine milk cells were positive for the typical epithelial markers E-cadherin, cytokeratin-14, cytokeratin-18, and smooth muscle actin. Notably, a subset (30%-40%), constantly observed in purified milk cells, showed the typical mesenchymal surface antigens CD90, CD73, and CD105. Furthermore, the same percentage of bMSCs expressing CD90, CD73, and CD105 presented the stemness markers SOX2 and OCT4 translocated in their nuclei. Finally, our data showed that bMSCs were able to differentiate into osteoblasts, chondroblasts, and adipocytes. In addition, the flow cytometry analysis revealed the presence of a subpopulation of events characterized by typical extracellular vesicles (EVs, size 0.1-1 μm), which did not contain nuclei and were positive for the same markers identified on the surface of bMSCs (CD73, CD90, and CD105), and thus might be considered milk cell-derived EVs. In conclusion, our data suggest that bovine milk is an easily available source of multipotent stem cells able to differentiate into multiple cell lineages. These features can open new possibilities for development biology and regenerative medicine in veterinary area to improving animal health.