Staphylococcus aureus intramammary challenge in non-lactating mammary glands stimulated to rapidly grow and develop with estradiol and progesterone


Intramammary infections (IMI) are prevalent in non-lactating dairy cattle and their occurrence during periods of significant mammary growth and development (i.e. pregnant heifers and dry cows) is believed to interfere with growth, development, and subsequent milk production. However, direct study of IMI impacts on non-lactating but developing mammary glands is lacking. The objectives of this study were to (1) define how IMI affected total and differential mammary secretion somatic cell counts in mammary glands stimulated to rapidly grow using estradiol and progesterone, and (2) characterize changes in mammary morphology in response to IMI. Mammary growth was stimulated in 19 non-pregnant, non-lactating cows and 2 quarters of each cow were subsequently infused with either saline (n = 19) or Staphylococcus aureus (n = 19). Mammary secretions were taken daily until mammary tissues were collected at either 5 or 10 days post-challenge. Staph. aureus quarter secretions yielded greater concentrations of somatic cells than saline quarters and contained a greater proportion of neutrophils. Staph. aureus mammary tissues exhibited higher degrees of immune cell infiltration in luminal and intralobular stroma compartments than saline quarters. Infected tissues also contained reduced areas of epithelium and tended to have greater amounts of intralobular stroma. Results indicate that IMI in non-lactating glands that were stimulated to grow, produced immune cell infiltration into mammary tissues and secretions, which was associated with changes in mammary tissue structure. The observed reduction of mammary epithelium indicates that IMI impair mammary development in rapidly growing mammary glands, which may reduce future reduced milk yields.




Veterinary Research. 2018 Jun 05;49(1):47