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Front Immunol. 2014 Oct 7;5:493. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2014.00493. eCollection 2014.

Bovine mastitis: frontiers in immunogenetics.

Author information

1
Department of Pathobiology, University of Guelph , Guelph, ON , Canada ; Center for Genetic Improvement of Livestock, University of Guelph , Guelph, ON , Canada.
2
Department of Pathobiology, University of Guelph , Guelph, ON , Canada ; Center for Genetic Improvement of Livestock, University of Guelph , Guelph, ON , Canada ; Department of Biomedical Science, University of Guelph , Guelph, ON , Canada ; Department of Animal and Poultry Science, University of Guelph , Guelph, ON , Canada.
3
Center for Genetic Improvement of Livestock, University of Guelph , Guelph, ON , Canada ; Canadian Dairy Network , Guelph, ON , Canada.

Abstract

Mastitis is one of the most prevalent and costly diseases in the dairy industry with losses attributable to reduced milk production, discarded milk, early culling, veterinary services, and labor costs. Typically, mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary gland most often, but not limited to, bacterial infection, and is characterized by the movement of leukocytes and serum proteins from the blood to the site of infection. It contributes to compromised milk quality and the potential spread of antimicrobial resistance if antibiotic treatment is not astutely applied. Despite the implementation of management practises and genetic selection approaches, bovine mastitis control continues to be inadequate. However, some novel genetic strategies have recently been demonstrated to reduce mastitis incidence by taking advantage of a cow's natural ability to make appropriate immune responses against invading pathogens. Specifically, dairy cattle with enhanced and balanced immune responses have a lower occurrence of disease, including mastitis, and they can be identified and selected for using the high immune response (HIR) technology. Enhanced immune responsiveness is also associated with improved response to vaccination, increased milk, and colostrum quality. Since immunity is an important fitness trait, beneficial associations with longevity and reproduction are also often noted. This review highlights the genetic regulation of the bovine immune system and its vital contributions to disease resistance. Genetic selection approaches currently used in the dairy industry to reduce the incidence of disease are reviewed, including the HIR technology, genomics to improve disease resistance or immune response, as well as the Immunity(+)™ sire line. Improving the overall immune responsiveness of cattle is expected to provide superior disease resistance, increasing animal welfare and food quality while maintaining favorable production levels to feed a growing population.

KEYWORDS:

disease resistance; genetic selection; genomics; immune response; mastitis

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