Journal of Mammary Gland Biology and Neoplasia

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 305–322 | Cite as

Functional Adaptations of the Transcriptome to Mastitis-Causing Pathogens: The Mammary Gland and Beyond



Application of microarrays to the study of intramammary infections in recent years has provided a wealth of fundamental information on the transcriptomics adaptation of tissue/cells to the disease. Due to its heavy toll on productivity and health of the animal, in vivo and in vitro transcriptomics works involving different mastitis-causing pathogens have been conducted on the mammary gland, primarily on livestock species such as cow and sheep, with few studies in non-ruminants. However, the response to an infectious challenge originating in the mammary gland elicits systemic responses in the animal and encompasses tissues such as liver and immune cells in the circulation, with also potential effects on other tissues such as adipose. The susceptibility of the animal to develop mastitis likely is affected by factors beyond the mammary gland, e.g. negative energy balance as it occurs around parturition. Objectives of this review are to discuss the use of systems biology concepts for the holistic study of animal responses to intramammary infection; providing an update of recent work using transcriptomics to study mammary and peripheral tissue (i.e. liver) as well as neutrophils and macrophage responses to mastitis-causing pathogens; discuss the effect of negative energy balance on mastitis predisposition; and analyze the bovine and murine mammary innate-immune responses during lactation and involution using a novel functional analysis approach to uncover potential predisposing factors to mastitis throughout an animal’s productive life.


Systems biology Bioinformatics Transcriptomics Liver Ruminant 



polymorphonuclear leukocytes


intramammary infection


overrepresented approach


false discovery rate


ingenuity pathway analysis


dynamic impact approach

E. coli

Escherichia coli


acute-phase response


C-X-C motif chemokine 5


differentially expressed genes

S. epidermis

streptococcus epidermis

S. aureus

staphylococcus aureus


interleukin 6


NF-Kappa-B p100 subunit

S. uberis

streptococcus uberis


X-box binding protein 1


sterol-regulatory element binding factor 1


peroxisome proliferator activated receptor


pathogen-associated molecular patterns




lipoteichoic acid


nitric oxide


somatic cell count


neutrophil extracellular traps


granulocyte chemotactic protein 2


complement 5a




non-esterified fatty acids


negative energy balance


hydroxybutyric acid


major histocompatibility complex


xanthine dehydrogenase




mucin 1


single nucleotide polymorphism


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juan J. Loor
    • 1
  • Kasey M. Moyes
    • 2
  • Massimo Bionaz
    • 3
  1. 1.Mammalian NutriPhysioGenomics, Department of Animal Sciences and Division of Nutritional SciencesUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Animal Science, Faculty of Agricultural SciencesAarhus UniversityTjeleDenmark
  3. 3.Institute of Genomic BiologyUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA

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