Invited review : Low milk somatic cell count and susceptibility to mastitis.

TitleInvited review : Low milk somatic cell count and susceptibility to mastitis.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsRainard, P, Foucras, G, Boichard, D, Rupp, R
JournalJ Dairy Sci
Date Published2018 Aug

An enduring controversy exists about low milk cell counts and susceptibility to mastitis. The concentration of milk leukocytes, or somatic cell count (SCC), is a well-established direct indicator of mammary gland inflammation that is highly correlated with the presence of a mammary infection. The SCC is also used as a trait for the selection of dairy ruminants less prone to mastitis. As selection programs favor animals with less SCC, and as milk cells contribute to the defense of the mammary gland, the idea that susceptibility to mastitis could possibly be increased in the long term has been put forward and is still widely debated. Epidemiological and experimental studies aimed at relating SCC to susceptibility to mastitis have yielded results that seem contradictory at first sight. Nevertheless, by taking into account the immunobiology of milk and mammary tissue cells and their role in the defense against infection, along with recent studies on SCC-based divergent selection of animals, the issue can be settled. Apparent SCC-linked susceptibility to mastitis is a phenotypic trait that may be linked to immunomodulation but not to selection.

Alternate JournalJ. Dairy Sci.
PubMed ID29803421