Natural killer (NK) cells are early responders in bacterial infections but their role in bovine mastitis has not been characterized. For the first time, we show the presence of NK cells (NKp46+/CD3−) in bovine mammary gland tissue after an intramammary challenge with Escherichia (E.) coli. A small number of NK cells was detected in milk from quarters before and during an E. coli challenge. In vitro cultures of primary bovine mammary gland epithelial cells stimulated with UV irradiated E. coli induced significant migration of peripheral blood NK cells (pbNK) within 2 h. Furthermore, pbNK cells significantly reduced counts of live E. coli in vitro within 2 h of culture. The results show that bovine NK cells have the capacity to migrate to the site of infection and produce antibacterial mediators. These findings introduce NK cells as a leukocyte population in the mammary gland with potential functions in the innate immune response in bovine mastitis.
|Journal||Comparative Immunology Microbiology and Infectious Diseases|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|
- Bovine mastitis
- E. coli
- Innate immunity
- Mammary gland epithelial cells
- NK cells