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Curdled milk restores nerve cells


Specialists from the Sechenov Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and Biochemistry RAS have established that the products of metabolism (probiotics) of lactate bacteria that reside in the human intestine, affect the differentiation of the nerve cells.

This phenomenon was observed in a cell culture, but the scientists do not rule out the fact that the probiotics of lactobacilli could be used to restore the peripheral and central nervous system.

It is convenient to use a culture of PC-12 cancer cells to study the differentiation of neurons. In normal conditions these rounded cells split actively, but in the presence of a nerve growth factor they acquire a characteristic appearance of neurons, meaning that they stop splitting and grow outshoots (neurites). The scientists added a product of lactobacilli metabolism to the cell culture or, more simply, curdled milk with a small quantity of microorganisms. In 20 hours the cancer cells were washed from the bacteria and the curdled milk, mixed in a clean nutritive medium and cultivated for 30 days.

A few hours in the super-dilute curdled milk was enough for the undifferentiated cells to start growing neurites. Throughout the entire course of the observations the length of the outshoots increased, while the cells acquired ever greater similarity to neurons, both externally and biochemically.

The scientists believe that under the effect of probiotics there is a sharp rise in the concentration of calcium ions inside the cancer cells. It cannot be ruled out that it is precisely this event that launches the differentiation of cells into neurons.