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PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e31892. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031892. Epub 2012 Mar 19.

Milk fermented by Propionibacterium freudenreichii induces apoptosis of HGT-1 human gastric cancer cells.

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  • 1INRA, Science et Technologie du Lait et de l'Œuf, Rennes, France.



Gastric cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world. The "economically developed countries" life style, including diet, constitutes a risk factor favoring this cancer. Diet modulation may lower digestive cancer incidence. Among promising food components, dairy propionibacteria were shown to trigger apoptosis of human colon cancer cells, via the release of short-chain fatty acids acetate and propionate.


A fermented milk, exclusively fermented by P. freudenreichii, was recently designed. In this work, the pro-apoptotic potential of this new fermented milk was demonstrated on HGT-1 human gastric cancer cells. Fermented milk supernatant induced typical features of apoptosis including chromatin condensation, formation of apoptotic bodies, DNA laddering, cell cycle arrest and emergence of a subG1 population, phosphatidylserine exposure at the plasma membrane outer leaflet, reactive oxygen species accumulation, mitochondrial transmembrane potential disruption, caspase activation and cytochrome c release. Remarkably, this new fermented milk containing P. freudenreichii enhanced the cytotoxicity of camptothecin, a drug used in gastric cancer chemotherapy.


Such new probiotic fermented milk may thus be useful as part of a preventive diet designed to prevent gastric cancer and/or as a food supplement to potentiate cancer therapeutic treatments.

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