Suppression of UVC-induced cell damage and enhancement of DNA repair by the fermented milk, Kefir

Tsutomu Nagira, Junko Narisawa, Kiichirou Teruya, Yoshinori Katakura, Sun Yup Shim, Ken ichi Kusumoto, Sennosuke Tokumaru, Koichiro Tokumaru, David W. Barnes, Sanetaka Shirahata

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26 Citations (Scopus)


An aqueous extract of Kefir, fermented milk originally produced in the Caucasus mountains, suppressed morphological changes of human melanoma HMV-1 and SK-MEL cells and human normal fibroblast TIG-1 cells caused by UVC-irradiation, suggesting that UV damage can be suppressed by the Kefir extract. The addition of the Kefir extract after UVC-irradiation of HVM-1 cells resulted in a remarkable decrease in intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) which had been increased by UVC irradiation. The Kefir extract also stimulated unscheduled DNA synthesis and suppressed UVC-induced apoptosis of HMV-1 cells. A colony formation assay revealed that the Kefir extract rescued HMV-1 cells from cell death caused by UVC irradiation. The Kefir extract, as well as methyl methanethiosulfonate which is known to enhance the nucleotide excision repair (NER) activity, exhibited strong thymine dimer repair-enhancing activity. Epigalocatechin exhibited a weak NER activity but vitamins A, C, and E and catechin showed no NER activity. The thymine dimer repair-enhancing factors in the Kefir extract were heatstable and assumed to be molecules with a molecular weight of less than 5000. The treatment of HMV-1 cells with the Kefir extract during or before UVC-irradiation also prevented the generation of ROS and thymine dimmer, and suppressed the apoptosis of HMV-1 cells, suggesting that application of Kefir can prevent UV damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-137
Number of pages13
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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