Article Index "Cellular Defense Mechanisms in the Udder and Lactation Physiology" Article Index

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By: "Paape, Max J., Capuco, Anthony V."
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Interpretive Summary:
An effort is underway to reduce the current goat milk somatic cell count standard of 1,000,000 cells/ml to the 750,000 cells/ml standard for cow milk. Somatic cell counts in milk from goats appears to be naturally higher when compared to somatic cell counts for cows. Several factors contribute to this elevated cell count. Milk secretion in the goat is apocrine, compared to merocrine in cows. Apocrine secretion results in the shedding of nucleated and anucleated cytoplasmic particles into milk. Nucleated particles will be included in the total cell count. Further, neutrophils make up 50 - 70% of the somatic cell count in milk from goats free from intramammary infection. For cows neutrophils only make up 5 - 20% of the total cell count. This suggests that leukoclyte migration into goat milk proceeds at a faster rate than it does for cows and may contribute to a naturally higher milk somatic cell count. Further, cell counts in milk increase with increasing stage of lactation. However, persistency of lactation for goats is less than for cows and could contribute to elevations in somatic cell counts in later lactation. Investigations during late lactation may provide a means of extending lactation in goats thereby limiting the increase in milk somatic cells during later lactation. For example, growth hormone administration, increased milking frequency, or manipulation of the activity of feedback inhibitors of lactation, may offer fertile areas for research to increase milk production efficiency and to reduce somatic cells in milk.

leukocytes phagocytosis disease resistance bovine immunity mammary

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