Host-response patterns of intramammary infections in dairy cows

Ynte H. Schukken*, J. Günther, J. L. Fitzpatrick, Michael C. Fontaine, L. Goetze, O. Holst, J. Leigh, Wolfram Petzl, Hans-Joachim Schuberth, A. Sipka, David George Emslie Smith, R. Quesnell, J. Watts, R. Yancey, Holm Zerbe, A. Gurjar, R. N. Zadoks, H. M. Seyfert

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    215 Citations (Scopus)


    Many different bacterial species have the ability to cause an infection of the bovine mammary gland and the host response to these infections is what we recognize as mastitis. In this review we evaluate the pathogen specific response to the three main bacterial species causing bovine mastitis: Escherichia coli, Streptococcus uberis and Staphylococcus aureus. In this paper we will review the bacterial growth patterns, host immune response and clinical response that results from the intramammary infections. Clear differences in bacterial growth pattern are shown between bacterial species. The dominant pattern in E. coli infections is a short duration high bacteria count infection, in S. aureus this is more commonly a persistent infection with relative low bacteria counts and in S. uberis a long duration high bacteria count infection is often observed. The host immune response differs significantly depending on the invading bacterial species. The underlying reasons for the differences and the resulting host response are described. Finally we discuss the clinical response pattern for each of the three bacterial species. The largest contrast is between E. coli and S. aureus where a larger proportion of E. coli infections cause potentially severe clinical symptoms, whereas the majority of S. aureus infections go clinically unnoticed. The relevance of fully understanding the bovine host response to intramammary infection is discussed, some major gaps in our knowledge are highlighted and directions for future research are indicated.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)270-289
    Number of pages20
    JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
    Issue number3-4
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2011


    • Bovine
    • Cattle
    • Escherichia coli
    • Immune response
    • Mastitis
    • Milk
    • Staphylococcus aureus
    • Streptococcus uberis

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Immunology
    • veterinary(all)


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