Mastitis due to Mycoplasma bovis is a worldwide problem, which leads to significant economic losses and affects animal welfare. However, the mechanisms by which M. bovis establishes and maintains intra-mammary infections (IMI) in dairy cows are largely unknown. To study in further detail the pathogenesis of M. bovis IMI, time- and cost-effective experimental models are needed. To this end, we established and characterized an in vitro murine mammary alveolar epithelial (EpH4) cell-based model and an in vivo murine mastitis model. Our results showed that live and UV-treated M. bovis field strain 161791 and its lipid-associated membrane proteins (LAMP) activated nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB) in EpH4 cells in a dose-dependent manner. In the murine mastitis model, temporal and spatial dynamics of inflammation in the mammary tissues were evident. Live M. bovis elicited diffuse inflammation affecting the whole challenged gland peaking at 48 h post infection (pi) in contrast to LAMP challenge, which elicited only focal inflammation peaking at 24 h and resolving at 48 h pi. Inflammation was characterized by massive neutrophil recruitment into the milk spaces and by elevated expression of the inflammatory mediators TNF-α, KC, iNOS and NF-kB dependent genes: A20 and IkBα. Moreover, the presence of intraepithelial bacterial communities in glands challenged with live M. bovis bacteria was shown. The developed models can be used efficiently for future characterization of M. bovis virulence factors and host immune response to IMI.
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- Mycoplasma bovis
- murine model