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Past Project 2016-19: Milk and Childhood Obesity: Effect of miRNAs in Raw Cow’s Milk on Adipose Stem Cells

The purpose of the project is to assess if milk, and specifically micro RNA present in milk, affect the capability of adipose stem cells to become fat cells

It presents 3 experiments:

Objective #1: Assess the in vivo effect of milk on the abundance, proliferation, and differentiation capacity of adipose-derived stem cells and size of mature adipocytes. Our working hypothesis is that consumption of cow’s milk decreases the number and adipogenesis of porcine ASC in vivo and reduces the size (i.e. lipid accumulation) of mature adipocytes. Project coordinator Katherine Swanson

Objective #2: Determine if miRNAs present in cow’s milk exosomes are horizontally transferred into the blood stream through intestinal absorption and then transported into adipose-derived stem cells. Our working hypothesis, based on recent scientific data, is that miRNAs from cow’s milk are horizontally transferred and present in ASC. Project coordinator Lilian Chan

Objective #3: Determine the effects of miRNAs present in exosomes of cow’s milk have on the transcriptome of adipose-derived stem cells. Our working hypothesis is that miRNAs in exosomes from cow’s milk have an effect on the transcriptome of porcine ASC.Status: The in vivo part of Experiment 1 was concluded at the end of March 2017. We have now isolated the adipose stem cells and the RNA from the cells have been isolated and we are now checking for RNA quality prior RNAseq. We have also obtained colony forming unit and we have now obtained passage 1 of adipose stem cells from all animals. 



  • Swanson K., D. Hendrix, D. Jiang, and M. Bionaz. 2018. The Effect of Bovine Milk Consumption on in vivo Porcine Adipose Stem Cells. 2018 ADSA Annual Meeting Abstract#403
  • Swanson K., S. Akers, C. Penix, N. Aguilera$, S. Busato, B. Batty, M. Kutzler, and M. Bionaz. 2018. Milk Consumption and Childhood Obesity: Does Milk Really Deserve the Bad Rap? 2018 ADSA Annual Meeting Abstract#405

Peer-reviewed papers

  • Swanson K., Kutzler M., and M. Bionaz. 2019. Cow milk does not affect adiposity in growing piglets as model for children. J Dairy Sci. 102(6):4798-4807. Editor’s choice for the June issue of the Journal of Dairy Science
Project members: 
Graduate Student
Graduate Student
Project Coordinator
Principle Investigator
Project Coordinator
Project Coordinator

Oregon State University

CorvallisBenton County, Oregon 97331
United States
Latitude: 44.563781
Longitude: -123.279444

Funding Source

The project is supported by the AFRI NIFA USDA Exploratory program (ORE00130).


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