To evaluate the clinical effects of bovine lactoferrin on staphylococcal mastitis in Holstein cows during the early non-lactating period, 41 mammary quarters were selected randomly from 36 cows on 3 dairy farms. Twelve quarters were infused intramammarily with bovine lactoferrin. Twenty-nine quarters were infused with antibiotic as a control. In the bovine lactoferrin-infused group, 91.7% of mastitic quarters were cured at 7 days after calving, compared with 48.3% in the control group. Furthermore, the changes in mammary secretion induced by the infusion of bovine lactoferrin were investigated. Mean numbers of staphylococci in mammary gland secretions were significantly decreased in both 5 bovine lactoferrin-infused quarters and 5 antibiotic-infused control quarters (p<0.05). Unlike in the control quarters, the mean total cell concentration in the mammary gland secretions increased in bovine lactoferrin-infused quarters. Similar results were obtained in 6 healthy quarters which were infused with bovine lactoferrin. In these quarters, the cell population contained mainly phagocytes such as polymorphonuclear leukocytes and cells positive for CD11b which is known as a complement receptor. The mean concentration of C3 in mammary gland secretions was significantly increased in 5 mastitic quarters infused with bovine lactoferrin (p<0.05), but showed no significant change in 5 mastitic control quarters. These results suggested that bovine lactoferrin treatment for staphylococcal mastitis in the early non-lactating period might increase the rate of cure through the induction of innate immunity in the host.
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