Transfer and Integration of Breast Milk Stem Cells to the Brain of Suckling Pups

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Aydın M. Ş., Yiğit E. N., Vatandaşlar E., Erdoğan E., ÖZTÜRK G.

Scientific Reports, vol.8, no.1, 2018 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 8 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1038/s41598-018-32715-5
  • Journal Name: Scientific Reports
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Beside its unique nutritional content breast milk also contains live cells from the mother. Fate of these cells in the offspring has not been adequately described. In this study, we aimed to detect and identify maternal cells in the suckling’s blood and the brain. Green fluorescent protein expressing transgenic female mice (GFP+) were used as foster mothers to breastfeed wildtype newborn pups. One week and two months after the birth, blood samples and brains of the sucklings were analyzed to detect presence of GFP+ cells by fluorescence activated cell sorting, polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry on the brain sections and optically cleared brains. The tests confirmed that maternal cells were detectable in the blood and the brain of the pups and that they differentiated into both neuronal and glial cell types in the brain. This phenomenon represents breastfeeding – induced microchimerism in the brain with functional implications remain to be understood.