Bovine mastitis is one of the most costly dairy-based diseases worldwide with an estimated $60 M loss to New Zealand per season. Mastitis infections are a result of bacterial or fungal pathogens becoming established in the udder, and are detected by the increase of somatic cells in the mammary gland, bacteriology data and physical signs of infection. In New Zealand, mastitis is usually a result of a gram-positive bacterial infection (Brookbanks, 1966). Of these bacteria, Streptococcus uberis is emerging as one of the most prevalent causative organism of mastitis in New Zealand (McDougall, 2002). It resides naturally in the environment making prevention of the disease difficult. Currently the main means of controlling the disease is through administering antibiotics following identification of infection. The mammary gland is protected from invasion by the activation of non-specific (innate) and specific defence mechanisms. The innate immune response is the predominant defence during the early stages of infection and is induced rapidly at the site of infection (Sordillo et al., 1997). Although the local mammary innate immune response has been widely investigated, studies have focussed on known antibacterial compounds and little is known about the novel compounds in bovine milk and how these contribute to the defence system of the mammary gland. The mechanism by which the mammary gland innate immune system is active against S. uberis is poorly understood. By developing an understanding into the way S. uberis induces an immune response in the mammary gland and the effect of infection on mammary gland metabolism we may identify components which can be utilised to either reduce the symptoms of/or prevent or cure S. uberis mastitis.
Proceedings of the New Zealand Society of Animal Production, Volume 64, Hamilton, 14-16, 2004
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