Investigation of the pathophysiology of bacterial mastitis using precision-cut bovine udder slices
Mastitis in cattle is a major health problem as well as incurring high costs for the dairy industry. To assess the suitability of precision-cut bovine udder slices (PCBUS) for bovine mastitis studies, we infected PCBUS with 2 different Staphylococcus aureus strains. Accordingly, we investigated both the tissue response to infection based on immune mediators at the mRNA and protein levels and the invasion of bacteria within the tissue. The studied proteins represent immune mediators of early inflammation [IL-1β, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), prostaglandin E2 (PGE2)] and showed a time-dependent increase in concentration. Infection of PCBUS with S. aureus resulted in increased expression of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines such as TNF-α, C-C motif chemokine ligand 20 (CCL20), IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-10, but not C-X-C motif chemokine ligand 8 (CXCL8), lingual antimicrobial peptide (LAP), or S100 calcium binding protein A9 (S100A9) at the mRNA level. To compare the data acquired with this model, we carried out investigations on primary bovine mammary epithelial cells. Our results showed that the immune responses of both models-PCBUS and primary bovine mammary epithelial cells-were similar. In addition, investigations using PCBUS enabled us to demonstrate adherence of bacteria in the physiological cell network. These findings support the use of PCBUS in studies designed to further understand the complex pathophysiological processes of infection and inflammation in bovine mastitis and to investigate alternative therapies for mastitis.