Cells of the multicellular organisms communicate with each other in many different ways, among which extracellular vesicles play a unique role. Almost all cell types secrete vesicles into the extracellular space and deliver their contents to recipient cells. Today, one of the groups of extracellular vesicles that is of particular interest for studying is exosomes—membrane vesicles with a diameter of 40–100 nm. Exosomes are secreted by cells and found in various biological fluids—blood, tears, saliva, urine, cerebrospinal fluid, and milk. Exosomes provide not only targeted delivery of molecular signals to recipient cells but also carry unique markers, which makes them a promising substrate in diagnostic studies, primarily due to their small RNA and protein contents. The milk of cows, horses, humans, and other mammals is a unique source of exosomes since these organisms can produce liters of milk per day, which is much higher than the volume of exosomes produced in cell culture fluid or blood plasma. Unfortunately, milk exosomes are currently much less studied than exosomes of blood or culture fluid. This review examines the methods of the isolation, biochemical analysis (composition of proteins, lipids, and nucleic acids), morphology, and prospects for the use of milk exosomes.
Part of the book: Extracellular Vesicles and Their Importance in Human Health