Journal of Dairy Research

Research Article

Effect of bovine lactoferrin on the internalization of coagulase-negative staphylococci into bovine mammary epithelial cells under in-vitro conditions

Paula Hyvönena1 c1, Sari Käyhköa1, Suvi Taponena2, Atte von Wrighta1 and Satu Pyöräläa2

a1 Department of Biosciences, University of Kuopio, PO Box 1627, FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland

a2 Department of Clinical Veterinary Science, Saari Unit, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Helsinki, FI-04920 Saarentaus, Finland


Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) have emerged as bovine mastitis pathogens in many countries. CNS mastitis is generally mild but can persist in the udder for long periods. Pathogenesis of CNS intramammary infection is not well understood. In the present study, adhesion, invasion and intracellular replication of twenty-two CNS strains isolated from bovine mastitis and the effect of bovine lactoferrin (bLf) on the internalization were studied in vitro in a bovine mammary epithelial (BME) cell model. The CNS strains were of Staphylococcus chromogenes, Staph. simulans, Staph. epidermidis, Staph. haemolyticus and Staph. cohnii urealyticus; two strains of Staph. aureus were used as controls. Seven of the CNS strains originated from persistent and five from transient mastitis infections. The in-vitro susceptibility of the strains to bLf was also investigated. All CNS species examined had an adhesive ability equal to that of Staph. aureus, but internalization varied among staphylococcal strains. The antagonistic effect of bLf on the adhesion and invasion of CNS strains was weak, but bLf significantly decreased intracellular replication and replication rates of CNS. No correlation between the in-vitro susceptibility of the strain to bLf or internalization among clinical signs of mastitis was established. No difference between the persistent and transient CNS strains in adhesion, invasion or replication rate was recorded. This in-vitro BME cell model can be used to study the virulence potential of mastitis pathogens, although the severity and persistence of eventual infections shall be further investigated in vivo. The role of bLf in intramammary infection caused by CNS may be limited.

(Received May 08 2008)

(Accepted September 17 2008)

(Online publication January 05 2009)


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