Comparison of Holstein and Jersey innate immune responses to Escherichia coli intramammary infection

D. D. Bannerman, A. C.W. Kauf, M. J. Paape, H. R. Springer, J. P. Goff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Mastitis is one of the most prevalent diseases in cattle and remains among the most costly diseases to the dairy industry. Various surveys have indicated a greater prevalence of and risk for mastitis in Holstein cows than in Jersey cows. The innate immune system comprises the immediate host defense mechanisms that respond to infection, and differences in the magnitude and rapidity of this response are known to influence susceptibility to and clearance of infectious pathogens. The reported differences in the prevalence of mastitis between Holstein and Jersey cows may suggest the occurrence of breed-dependent differences in the innate immune response to intramammary infection. The objective of the current study was to compare the acute phase and cytokine responses of Holstein and Jersey cows following intramammary infection by the bacterial pathogen Escherichia coli, a leading cause of clinical mastitis. All cows in the study were in similar stages of lactation, of the same parity, subjected to the same housing and management conditions, and experimentally infected on the same day with the same inoculum preparation. Before and after infection, the following innate immune parameters were monitored: bacterial clearance; febrile response; induction of the acute phase proteins serum amyloid A and lipopolysaccharide-binding protein; alterations in total and differential white blood cell counts; changes in milk somatic cell counts and mammary vascular permeability; and induction of the cytokines IFN-γ, IL-1β, IL-8, IL-12, and tumor necrosis factor-α. Overall innate immune responses were similar between the 2 breeds; however, temporal differences in the onset, cessation, and duration of several responses were detected. Despite these differences, intramammary clearance of E. coli was comparable between the breeds. Together, these data demonstrate a highly conserved innate immune response of Holstein and Jersey cows to E. coli intramammary infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2225-2235
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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