Effect of mastitis on milk perchlorate concentrations in dairy cows

J Dairy Sci. 2006 Aug;89(8):3011-9. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(06)72574-7.


Recent surveys have identified the presence of perchlorate, a natural compound and environmental contaminant, in forages and dairy milk. The ingestion of perchlorate is of concern because of its ability to competitively inhibit iodide uptake by the thyroid and to impair synthesis of thyroid hormones. A recent study established that milk perchlorate concentrations in cattle highly correlate with perchlorate intake. However, there is evidence that up to 80% of dietary perchlorate is metabolized in clinically healthy cows, thereby restricting the available transfer of ingested perchlorate into milk. The influence of mastitis on milk perchlorate levels, where there is an increase in mammary vascular permeability and an influx of blood-derived components into milk, remains unknown. The present study examined the effect of experimentally induced mastitis on milk perchlorate levels in cows receiving normal and perchlorate-supplemented diets. Over a 12-d period, cows were ruminally infused with 1 L/d of water or water containing 8 mg of perchlorate. Five days after the initiation of ruminal infusions, experimental mastitis was induced by the intramammary infusion of 100 microg of bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Contralateral quarters infused with phosphate-buffered saline served as controls. A significant reduction in milk perchlorate concentration was observed in the LPS-challenged glands of animals ruminally infused with either water or perchlorate. In control glands, milk perchlorate concentrations remained constant throughout the study. A strong negative correlation was identified between mammary vascular permeability and milk perchlorate concentrations in LPS-infused glands. These findings, in the context of a recently published study, suggest that an active transport process is operative in the establishment of a perchlorate concentration gradient across the blood-mammary gland interface, and that increases in mammary epithelial and vascular endothelial permeability lead to a net outflow of milk perchlorate. The overall finding that mastitis results in lower milk perchlorate concentrations suggests that changes in udder health do not necessitate increased screening of milk for perchlorate.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Capillary Permeability
  • Cattle
  • Cell Count
  • Diet
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis
  • Female
  • Kinetics
  • Lactation
  • Lipopolysaccharides / administration & dosage
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / blood supply
  • Mastitis, Bovine / etiology
  • Mastitis, Bovine / metabolism*
  • Milk / chemistry*
  • Milk / cytology
  • Perchlorates / administration & dosage
  • Perchlorates / analysis*
  • Perchlorates / blood
  • Rumen / drug effects
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine / analysis
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Perchlorates
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Serum Albumin, Bovine
  • perchlorate