Variation in CD4+ T and CD8+ T lymphocyte subpopulations in bovine mammary gland secretions during lactating and non-lactating periods

Ken Ichi Asai, Kenzo Kai, Hidemi Rikiishi, Shunji Sugawara, Yasuo Maruyama, Takahiro Yamaguchi, Minoru Ohta, Katsuo Kumagai

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42 Citations (Scopus)


Mammary gland secretions (MGS) of dairy cows at different stages of lactation were studied by immunofluorescence cytometry for T lymphocyte subpopulations using monoclonal antibodies. During early and late lactation, the mean ratio of CD4+/CD8+ T lymphocytes in the MGS was 0.5 and 0.8, respectively. A large proportion of the CD8+ cells coexpressed the activation molecule, ACT2. These results indicate that CD8+ ACT2+ cells constituted the major phenotype in the T lymphocytes throughout lactation. In the mammary gland of cows in which drying off was induced, however, the proportion of CD8+ ACT2+ cells decreased, resulting in the increase of the CD4+/CD8+ ratio in the MGS. At the late non-lactation stage, the ratio reached a maximal level of 2.5-4.0, which was similar to or higher than that found in the peripheral blood. This selective increase of CD4+/CD8+ cell ratio correlated with an increase in the concentrations of total cells in the MGS. This high CD4+/CD8+ cell ratio during the drying off stage rapidly decreased just before parturition, correlating with the decrease in concentrations of total cells in the MGS, reaching the lowest level at early lactation. The cells isolated at the non-lactation stage produced the cytokines IL-2 and IL-4 at a level much higher than those of cells isolated at lactation stages, and the increases were correlated with the CD4+ T lymphocyte proportions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-61
Number of pages11
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Sep 16


  • 000 CD8 T lymphocytes
  • CD4 T lymphocytes
  • Cow
  • IL-2
  • IL-4
  • Mammary gland secretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • veterinary(all)


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