Human breast milk stem cells: a new challenge for perinatologists

Giuseppina Pichiri, Daniele Lanzano, Monica Piras, Angelica Dessì, Alessandra Reali, Melania Puddu, Antonio Noto, Vassilios Fanos, Carlo Coni, Gavino Faa, Pierpaolo Coni


The lactating mammary gland contains a stem cells population with multilineage potentialities. Recently it was also shown that breast milk contains a heterogeneous population of stem cells that have the potential to differentiate in vitro, under the control of specific differentiation conditions, into mammary epithelial as well as into adipogenic, chondrogenic and osteogenic cell lineages. While the different types of cells present in the milk is known, what is less understood is the proportion of different milk cell types, their significance for the mother and the infant and factors influencing them.

In this manuscript we summarize some of the latest knowledge from in vivo and in vitro investigations on breast milk stem cells, we discuss their potential functions and applications and we present some of our preliminary data obtained in fresh human breast milk cells.


Proceedings of the 2nd International Course on Perinatal Pathology (part of the 11th International Workshop on Neonatology · October 26th-31st, 2015) · Cagliari (Italy) · October 31st, 2015 · Stem cells: present and future
Guest Editors: Gavino Faa, Vassilios Fanos, Antonio Giordano


stem cells; human breast milk; milk stem cells markers; CD44; Ki67

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