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Immune Surveillance of Mammary Tissue by Phagocytic Cells

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Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB,volume 480)

Abstract

The leukocytes in milk consist of lymphocytes, neutrophil polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) and macrophages. Lymphocytes together with antigen- presenting cells function in the generation of an effective immune response. Lymphocytes can be divided into two distinct subsets, T- and B- lymphocytes, that differ in function and protein products. The professional phagocytic cells of the bovine mammary gland are PMN and macrophages. In the normal mammary gland macrophages are the predominate cells which act as sentinels to invading mastitis causing pathogens. Once the invaders are detected, macrophages release chemical messengers called chemoattractants that cause the directed migration of PMN into the infection. Migration of neutrophils into mammary tissue provides the first immunological line of defense against bacteria that penetrate the physical barrier of the teat canal. However, their presence is like a double-edged sword. While the PMN are phagocytosing and destroying the invading pathogens, they inadvertently release chemicals which induces swelling of secretory epithelium cytoplasm, sloughing of secretory cells, and decreased secretory activity. Permanent scarring will result in a loss of milk production. Resident and newly migrated macrophages help reduce the damage to the epithelium by phagocytosing PMN that undergo programmed cell death through a process called apoptosis. Specific ligands on the neutrophil surface are required for directed migration and phagocytosis. In response to infection, freshly migrated leukocytes express greater numbers of cell surface receptors for immunoglobulins and complement and are more phagocytic than their counterparts in blood. However, phagocytic activity rapidly decreases with continued exposure to inhibitory factors such as milk fat globules and casein in mammary secretions. Compensatory hypertrophy in non-mastitic quarters partially compensates for lost milk production in diseased quarters. Advances in molecular biology are making available the tools, techniques, and products to study and modulate host-parasite interactions. For example the cloning and expression of proteins that bind endotoxin may provide ways of reducing damaging effects of endotoxin duri0ng acute coliform mastitis. The successful formation of bifunctional monoclonal antibodies for the targeted lysis of mastitis causing bacteria represents a new line of therapeutics for the control of mastitis in dairy cows.

Key words

  • Immune surveillance
  • mastitis

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Paape, M.J., Shafer-Weaver, K., Capuco, A.V., Van Oostveldt, K., Burvenich, C. (2002). Immune Surveillance of Mammary Tissue by Phagocytic Cells. In: Mol, J.A., Clegg, R.A. (eds) Biology of the Mammary Gland. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, vol 480. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/0-306-46832-8_31

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