Induction of Immune Responses in the Bovine Mammary Gland
Mammary gland infections of cattle adversely influence animal welfare, food quality and the profitability of dairy farming. Improved understanding of local immune responses in the udder may lead to better prophylaxis against mastitis. Normal milk from dairy cows contains approximately 2x105 cells/ml and cells of the monocyte/macrophage series are the major type in mammary secretions for most of the lactational cycle. In addition to their phagocytic role in the mammary gland, mammary macrophages express major histocompatability complex (MHC) class II antigens and may, therefore, be one cell type involved in local presentation of antigen to T lymphocytes. The epithelium of the bovine mammary gland is the first tissue to become exposed to bacteria following invasion of the teat duct in the early stages of mammary gland infections, however the potential role of mammary epithelium in regulating immune responses in the udder is unknown.
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