The anti-inflammatory effect of milk and dairy products on periodontal cells: an in vitro approach

Clin Oral Investig. 2019 Apr;23(4):1959-1966. doi: 10.1007/s00784-018-2642-4. Epub 2018 Sep 20.


Objective: Milk can reduce intestinal tissue damage in colitis models, and protects infants against necrotizing enterocolitis. However, whether milk can decrease inflammation related to peri-implantitis and oral mucosal dehiscence remains unclear. We therefore investigated whether or not milk and fermented by-products have any anti-inflammatory effects on the cells of the oral cavity.

Material and methods: Human gingival fibroblasts and the human oral epithelial cell line HSC2 were exposed to pasteurized human milk, pasteurized cow's milk, dairy products, and powdered milk. An inflammatory response was then provoked with IL1 and TNFα. The expression changes of IL1, IL6, and IL8 were detected by reverse transcriptase PCR and immunoassay.

Results: We can report that pasteurized human milk and pasteurized cow's milk as well as yoghurt, buttermilk, sour milk, whey, and powdered milk can lower the expression of inflammatory cytokines in gingival fibroblasts being stimulated by IL1 and TNFα. A similar anti-inflammatory response to pasteurized milk and dairy products was observed with the human oral epithelial cell line HSC2.

Conclusion: These data suggest that pasteurized and powdered milk, as well as fermented dairy products, display an anti-inflammatory effect on oral fibroblasts and oral epithelial cells.

Clinical relevance: Our in vitro findings provide the scientific basis to extend this research towards testing the anti-inflammatory effects of milk in a pre-clinical periodontitis and peri-implantitis model.

Keywords: Epithelial cells; Fibroblasts; Inflammation; Milk; Mucositis; Oral.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry*
  • Cattle
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Dairy Products*
  • Fibroblasts / cytology*
  • Gingiva / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation*
  • Milk*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cytokines