Elastase activity and concanavalin A (Con A) low affinity bovine lactoferrin (bLf) molecule were detected in mammary gland secretions (MGSs) from mammary glands (MGs) with clinical staphylococcal mastitis. Changes in clinical symptoms correlated with increases in both elastase activity and the concentration of Con A low-affinity Lf in MGSs from mastitic MGs. Bovine Lf treated with elastase (elastase-Lf) showed various small bLf molecules and the same image on Con A two-dimensional immunoelectrophoresis as low Con A affinity bLf in MGSs. We confirmed the presence of four common bLf peptides for the elastase-bLf and low Con A affinity bLf molecules in mastitic MGSs, and synthesized four peptides. Strong mRNA expression of interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα), interleukin-8 (IL-8), and monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) was induced in bovine mammary epithelial cells on stimulation with low Con A affinity bLf, elastase-bLf, and GQRDLLFKDSAL, a synthesis bLf peptide based on nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB) activation. These results suggest that bLf was cleaved by elastase, and that this cleavage changed the physical function of Lf. Our results indicate that elastase induced production of low Con A affinity bLf, including the bLf peptide GQRDLLFKDSAL, and had an inflammatory effect on staphylococcal mastitis.
2006 by the Japanese Society of Veterinary Science