Medium lacking serum but supplemented with milk will support the growth of sparse cells in culture. Milk obtained within 8 h after the birth of a calf (day 1 colostrum) is the most effective in supporting proliferation. In mixed cultures of early-passage bovine embryonic kidney (BEK) or early-passage calf kidney (CK) cells, both epithelial cells and fibroblasts grow in Dulbecco's modified eagle's medium (DMEM) supplemented with serum. However, only cells that appear to be epithelial-like grow in DMEM supplemented with colostrum. Sparse cultures of early-passage human and rat fibroblasts that grow readily in DMEM supplemented with serum do not grow in DMEM supplemented with colostrum. Canine kidney epithelial cells (MDCK), when plated sparsely, grow exponentially in DMEM supplemented with day 1 bovine colostrum. The generation time is 26 h, the same growth rate as in DMEM supplemented with calf serum. The MDCK cells can be subcultured and regrown to confluence repeatedly in colostrum-supplemented DMEM. Growth in DMEM supplemented with colostrum does not alter the morphological characteristics of the MDCK cells, which are polygonal, contain microvilli at the apical surface, and are connected by tight junctions and desmosomes. MDCK cells do not proliferate in DMEM supplemented with milk obtained 1 wk after the birth of a calf.

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