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J Dairy Sci. 2002 Dec;85(12):3268-76.

Blood and milk neutrophil chemiluminescence and viability in primiparous and pluriparous dairy cows during late pregnancy, around parturition and early lactation.

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  • 1Ghent University, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Physiology, Biochemistry, and Biometrics, Salisburylaan 133, B-9820 Merelbeke, Belgium.


Extensive studies have shown the polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN) dysfunction inextricably links to parturition. To investigate the effect of parity on PMN function, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) stimulated luminol-amplified chemiluminescence (CL) and viability of blood and milk PMN were investigated in primiparous and pluriparous dairy cows during periparturient period. The CL kinetics of blood and milk PMN and hematological profiles were also assessed. Milk PMN CL was always lower than blood PMN CL. Blood and milk PMN CL and milk PMN viability were significantly higher in primiparous cows throughout the study. Blood PMN CL in pluriparous cows showed a sharper decrease. Both in pluriparous and in primiparous cows, minimal blood PMN CL appeared at periparturient day (PPD) 2. After PPD 7, blood PMN CL recovery rate was faster in primiparous cows. Milk PMN CL was minimal at PPD 2 in both groups. Whereas no changes were observed in blood PMN viability, the viability of milk PMN in primiparous cows was substantially higher than in pluriparous cows. The number of circulating eosinophils and immature neutrophils was substantially higher in primiparous cows throughout the study. The CL kinetics of blood PMN at PPD -2 and 2 and of milk PMN at PPD 2 exhibited different responses to PMA, with higher intensity and durability, peaking and subsiding more slowly in primiparous dairy cows. The pronounced reduction in PMN CL and viability in milk PMN of pluriparous cows may be involved in the underlying mechanisms that make these animals more susceptible to periparturient infectious diseases.

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