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J Dairy Sci. 2004 Nov;87(11):3778-84.

Haptoglobin concentrations in blood and milk after endotoxin challenge and quantification of mammary Hp mRNA expression.

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  • 1Institute of Physiology, Biochemistry and Animal Hygiene, University of Bonn 53115, Germany. <>


Haptoglobin (Hp), an acute phase protein mostly secreted by the liver, is an inflammatory marker. To use the full diagnostic potential of Hp measurements for mastitis, we developed and validated an ELISA sensitive to quantify even basal and subclinical concentrations in both blood and milk. Bovine Hp was purified from serum and was used as a standard and to generate polyclonal antiserum. The limit of detection was 0.07 microg of Hp/mL. From 6 cows challenged by intracisternal injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) into one quarter, blood samples were collected 0, 3, 6, 9, and 12 h after LPS administration. Milk samples from the treated and from the contralateral quarters were collected 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60 h after LPS administration. Haptoglobin concentrations in blood were increased above basal at 9 h, whereas milk Hp concentration increased 3 h after LPS administration. We therefore evaluated Hp mRNA synthesis within the mammary gland and specifically demonstrated Hp mRNA expression in parenchymal tissue, in tissue around the cisternal milk ducts and also in teat tissue by RT-PCR. Haptoglobin mRNA expression was then quantitatively evaluated by real-time RT-PCR in mammary biopsies collected from the treated and the control quarter before, and 3, 6, 9, and 12 h after LPS challenge from 6 other cows. Haptoglobin mRNA expression in the treated vs. the control quarters was different. The relation between mammary Hp expression and milk Hp concentrations needs further investigation, but the results suggest good diagnostic potential of this parameter for mastitis.

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