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The University of Southampton
Microvesicle Research Group


The role of microvesicles in breast milk in the early life programming of immune responses and the development of allergy



Breast milk contains factors that influence the development of the babies immune system. These factors may include microvesicles, which are found in the breast milk and have been show to contain high levels of immune related microRNAs. These microvesicles are very stable in the harsh conditions found during digestion, and may give a clue to a mechanism whereby immune-regulating material is passed from the mother to the baby at a stage where the babies immune system is immature and susceptible to early life programming.


Novel flow cytometry based methods will be developed to study leukocyte microvesicles, based on current methods we have in our research group. We will use these new methods to examine leukocyte microvesicles in breast milk from mothers whose infants go on to develop allergy, compared to those infants who do not.

Methods to use:

Multicolour flow cytometry, microRNA analysis, cell culture, working with clinical samples and ELISAs.

Research Team Members:

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