CD44 is highly expressed on milk neutrophils in bovine mastitis and plays a role in their adhesion to matrix and mammary epithelium

Vet Res. 2008 May-Jun;39(3):29. doi: 10.1051/vetres:2008005. Epub 2008 Feb 15.


Mastitis, inflammation of the mammary gland, is a common and economically important disease in dairy animals. Mammary pathogenic organisms, such as Escherichia coli, invade the teat canal,milk ducts, and mammary alveolar space, replicate in mammary secretions, and elicit a local inflammatory response characterized by massive recruitment of blood polymorphonuclear neutrophil leukocytes (PMN) into the alveoli and milk ducts. CD44 is a trans-membrane glycoprotein previously shown to play a role in mediation and control of blood PMN recruitment in response to inflammatory signals. Here we show, for the first time, increased expression of CD44 on recruited milk PMN in bovine mastitis and the expression of a CD44 variant, CD44v10, on these PMN. Furthermore, we demonstrate that CD44 mediates specific adhesion of bovine blood PMN to hyaluronic acid and mammary epithelial cells. Our results suggest that in mastitis CD44 plays a role in recruiting blood PMN into the mammary glands, the exact nature of this role needs to be elucidated.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Adhesion / physiology
  • Cattle
  • Dairying
  • Epithelium / immunology
  • Epithelium / physiology
  • Escherichia coli / immunology
  • Escherichia coli / pathogenicity
  • Escherichia coli / physiology
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry / veterinary
  • Hyaluronan Receptors / genetics
  • Hyaluronan Receptors / immunology*
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / immunology
  • Mammary Glands, Animal / microbiology
  • Mastitis, Bovine / blood
  • Mastitis, Bovine / immunology*
  • Mastitis, Bovine / microbiology
  • Milk / cytology*
  • Milk / microbiology
  • Neutrophils / immunology*
  • Neutrophils / physiology
  • RNA / analysis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction / veterinary


  • Hyaluronan Receptors
  • RNA