Infectious mastitis is defined as an inflammatory reaction of the mammary gland to injury mainly produced from bacteria and their toxins. It is the most prevalent (Hortet and Seegers, 1998) and the most costly (Fourichon et al.,1999) disease of dairy cows. Selection of cows naturally highly immunocompetent and most resistant to mastitis has been proposed as an alternative to therapeutic and prophylactic treatments (Detilleux et al., 1994 ; Kehrli et al., 1991 ; Kelm et al, 1997 ; Fitzpatrick et al. (1998). Neutrophils (PMN) are the principal line of defense against bacteria in the mammary gland (reviewed in Zecconi and Smith, 2000) but the relative efficiency of the different PMN functions in clearing infection is unknown. Laboratory assays for measuring PMN functions are available but data collection from which breeding values could be computed is too expensive and time-consuming to be applied in national breeding programs. Consequently, there is considerable potential for having a small number of assays measuring PMN ability to clear bacterial infection and identifying cows to be selected for mastitis resistance. The objective of this paper is to provide a mathematical framework to quantify bacteria and PMN dynamics during a typical mammary infection. 

Johann C Detilleux

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume 2002. Session 13, , 13.27, 2002
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