Article| Volume 80, ISSUE 8, P1851-1865, August 1997

Immunobiology of the Mammary Gland

  • L.M. Sordillo
    Corresponding author. Present address: 115 Henning Building, Department of Veterinary Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802-3500.
    Department of Veterinary Science, Center for Mastitis Research, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802-3500
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  • K. Shafer-Weaver
    Department of Veterinary Science, Center for Mastitis Research, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802-3500
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  • D. DeRosa
    Department of Veterinary Science, Center for Mastitis Research, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802-3500
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      The mammary gland is a complex organ that provides neonatal offspring with milk for nourishment and disease resistance. Specific and innate immune factors associated with mammary gland tissues and secretion also play a vital role in protecting the gland from infectious disease. Through genetic selection and technological advances in milk removal, the bovine mammary gland yields far more milk than is needed to nourish the newborn calf. This excess is the basis of the dairy industry. Factors associated with the intense management of dairy cattle can profoundly affect mammary gland immunity and the ability of the host to resist mastitis. Technological advances in immunology have led to the availability of new research tools that can facilitate the study of mammary gland immunity and disease pathogenesis. In recent years, considerable research effort has focused on enhancing the natural defense mechanisms of the mammary gland during periods of heightened susceptibility to disease. This paper provides a comprehensive overview of mammary gland immunity with special emphasis on the bovine system. The underlying mechanisms of disease susceptibility and development of potential immunoregulatory strategies to control mastitis are discussed.

      Key words

      Abbreviation Key:

      ADCC (antibody-dependent, cell-mediated cytotoxicity), CSF (colony-stimulating factor), G (granulocyte (used in combined form only)), GM (granulocyte-macrophage), IFN (interferon), IL (interleukin), MHC (major histocompatibility complex), NK (natural killer), rb (recombinant bovine), rh (recombinant human), TNF (tumor necrosis factor)


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