Volume 66 (2004) Issue 4 Pages 381-387
The present study was designed to determine the effects of physiological stress on milk-somatic cell counts (SCC) and function of bovine peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL). Nine healthy lactating cows were used in the examination. Five cows were transported 100 km for 4 hr (transported group; TG), and 4 cows were penned (non-transported group; NTG). Blood and milk samples were collected at 0, 2, and 4 hr after loading, and at 2 hr, and 1, 2, 3, and 6 days after unloading. The following activities were measured: adhesion receptor (CD 18 and L-selectin) expression of neutrophils and monocytes, migration capacity and percentage of apoptotic cells of neutrophils, serum soluble L-selectin (sL-selectin), plasma cortisol, and SCC. A significant increase in plasma cortisol and milk SCC was observed in TG. Leukocytosis, derived from neutrophils was recorded in TG, and was indicated by apoptotic measurement as an increase of young cells from the marginal pool. Increased migration and decreased surface expression of both L-selectin and CD 18 in neutrophils were observed after transportation. Elevated serum sL-selectin was also noted as a result of transportation. The present study indicated that transport stress modulates peripheral blood neutrophil function, particularly enhancing migration capacity, and causes diapedesis across the mammary epithelium. Increased milk SCC in transported cattle might be due to these phenomena, and severe physiological stress may bring about an increase in SCC in milk.