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Am J Vet Res. 1989 Apr;50(4):459-65.

Macrophage function in mammary glands of Brucella abortus-infected cows and cows that resisted infection after inoculation of Brucella abortus.

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Department of Veterinary Pathology, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station 77843-4463.


Nonvaccinated pregnant cows were segregated retrospectively into 2 groups following inoculation with Brucella abortus strain 2308. One group resisted infection (resistant cows) and the other group developed active infections (susceptible cows) and subsequently aborted. Mammary gland macrophages collected from the 2 groups of cows were compared, using in vitro functional assays. In a chemiluminescence assay, mammary gland macrophages from resistant cows produced significantly (P = 0.014) higher oxidative burst activity than did macrophages from susceptible cows. Macrophages from resistant cows had significantly (P = 0.038) greater bacteriostatic activity against B abortus than did macrophages from susceptible cows. Differences in lysosomal enzymatic activity or Fc receptor expression were not observed for macrophages from the 2 groups of cows. Differences in macrophage function may be one factor responsible for natural resistance to Brucella infection in cattle.

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