Understanding and preventing mastitis in dairy cows – Immune regulation in the mammary gland

The immune system of the dairy cow is a much-studied subject but despite growing effort a lot of key mechanisms regulating mastitis remain enigmatic. It is well known that host factors have a large impact on the outcome of clinical mastitis in dairy cows. Depending on the stage of lactation, genetic predisposition, metabolic status and age of the animal, the unique composition of host derived mediators and immune cell subsets changes. This affects the cow’s immune performance and can lead to an increase in the susceptibility for intramammary infections and severity of the clinical response to pathogens.

At the Quality Milk Production Services (QMPS) research lab of Dr. Sipka in Ithaca, New York, the mission is to better understand the mechanisms shaping the immune system of the dairy cow. In a holistic approach that includes experimental mastitis trials and in vitro cell models, the group is working on identifying the immune cell subpopulations and host-derived mediators involved in the immune regulation in the