New Study Sheds Light on Cancer-Protective Properties of Milk

Findings reported in the Journal of Dairy Science®

Amsterdam, October 4, 2012 – Milk consumption has been linked to improved health, with decreased risks of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and colon cancer. A group of scientists in Sweden found that lactoferricin4-14 (Lfcin4-14), a milk protein with known health effects, significantly reduces the growth rate of colon cancer cells over time by prolonging the period of the cell cycle before chromosomes are replicated. In a new study, investigators report that treatment with Lfcin4-14 reduced DNA damage in colon cancer cells exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light. Their results are published in the October issue of the Journal of Dairy Science®.

“We previously hypothesized that the prolongation of the cell cycle in colon cancer cells as a result of Lfcin4-14 treatment may give the cells extra time for DNA repair,” says one of the lead investigators, Professor Stina Oredsson, of the Department of Biology at the University of Lund, Sweden. “Indeed, UV light-induced damage was decreased in colon cancer cells treated with Lfcin4-14compared with controls. The differences were small but significant.”

Investigators exposed colon cancer cells to UV light that caused DNA damage and then grew the cells in the absence or presence of Lfcin4-14. They evaluated DNA damage using a sensitive technique known as comet assay. After the cells are processed, the cells with DNA damage resemble a comet with a tail, and the intensity of the tail compared to the comet head indicates the number of DNA breaks. UV light exposure resulted in an increase in the number of comets while treatment with Lfcin4-14 reduced the number of comets in UV light-exposed cells. 

To understand the mechanism by which Lfcin4-14 reduced DNA damage, investigators evaluated the levels of several proteins involved in cell cycle progression, DNA repair, and cell death. They found an increase in flap endonuclease-1, a protein associated with DNA synthesis; a decrease in b-cell lymphoma 2-associated X protein, which is involved with cell death; and a decrease in the level of g-H2AX, indicating more efficient DNA repair. “These changes in expression support our hypothesis that Lfcin4-14 treatment resulted in increased DNA repair,” says Dr. Oredsson.

Dr. Oredsson notes that cancer cells, in general, have defects in the DNA repair mechanisms. Thus, Lfcin4-14 may have a greater effect on normal cells than on cancer cells. “Our data suggest that the effects of Lfcin4-14 in prolonging the cell cycle may contribute to the cancer preventive effect of milk. This must be further investigated in different systems,” she concludes. 
 

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Notes for editors
"Reduction of UV light-induced DNA damage in human colon cancer cells treated with lactoferrin-derived peptide,” C. Freiburghaus, H. Lindmark-Månsson, M. Paulsson, and S. Oredsson. Journal of Dairy Science, Volume 95, Issue 10 (October 2012), http://dx.doi.org/10.3168/jds.2011-5279, published by Elsevier.

Full text of the article is available to credentialed journalists upon request. Contact Verity Kerkhoff at +31-20-485-3310 orjdsmedia@elsevier.com to obtain copies. Journalists wishing to set up interviews with Professor Oredsson may contact her at +46 46 222 9497 or stina.oredsson@biol.lu.se.

About the Journal of Dairy Science (JDS)
Journal of Dairy Science (JDS), official journal of the American Dairy Science Association, is co-published by Elsevier and the Federation of Animal Science Societies for the American Dairy Association. It is the leading general dairy research journal in the world. JDS readers represent education, industry, and government agencies in more than 70 countries with interests in biochemistry, breeding, economics, engineering, environment, food science, genetics, microbiology, nutrition, pathology, physiology, processing, public health, quality assurance, and sanitation. JDS is ranked number 2 in the Agriculture, Dairy and Animal Science category of the Journal Citation Reports® 2011, published by Thomson Reuters, with an Impact Factor of 2.564.  www.journalofdairyscience.org

About the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA)
The American Dairy Science Association (ADSA), a member of the Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS), is an international organization of educators, scientists and industry representatives who are committed to advancing the dairy industry and keenly aware of the vital role the dairy sciences play in fulfilling the economic, nutritive, and health requirements of the world's population. It provides leadership in scientific and technical support to sustain and grow the global dairy industry through generation, dissemination, and exchange of information and services. Together, ADSA members have discovered new methods and technologies that have revolutionized the dairy industry.  www.adsa.org

About Elsevier
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About Elsevier
Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Research Intelligence and ClinicalKey— and publishes over 2,500 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and more than 35,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a world-leading provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries. www.elsevier.com

Media Contacts
Verity C. Kerkhoff
Elsevier
+31 20 485 3310 
jdsmedia@elsevier.com

Ken Olson, PhD, PAS
American Dairy Science Association®
+1 630 237 4961
keolson@prodigy.net