Connection between mastitis and fertility is multifaceted; therefore, several aspects need more elucidation. In particular, the aim was to investigate if naturally occurring chronic mastitis has an effect on ovarian function. At the time of slaughter, a milk sample and both ovaries were collected from 68 cows. The presence and intensity of chronic mastitis was diagnosed by the combined evaluation of bacteriological examination and somatic cell count of the milk of each individual quarter according to the measures of the National Mastitis Council. Animals were divided into 4 groups characterized by a low (n=15), mild (n=14), intense (n=19), or severe (n=16) degree of infection. A count of visible follicles on each ovary was followed by a quantitative analysis of microscopic traits on a selected group of animals (n=16). The latter included the classification and count of the entire preantral follicle population, and the morphometric analysis of the vascular bed extension and connective stroma in the cortical region. Finally, the expression of growth and differentiation factor-9 (GDF-9) was studied. The number of follicles with diameters ranging from 1 to 3mm and 4 to 7mm was not affected by the degree of infection. A significant effect of the degree of udder infection was observed on the number of follicles with a diameter larger than 8mm. Furthermore, the intensity of mastitis had no effect on the number of primordial and primary follicles, but severely affected cows showed a lower number of secondary follicles (0.5±0.1 vs. 0.2±0.03). Quantitative analysis demonstrated a decrease in the density of blood vessels (6.30±1.08 vs. 4.68±0.28) expressed as ratio of vascular bed/total area) and a higher incidence of fibrous stroma (1.60±0.99 vs. 6.04±3.08 expressed as ratio of connective tissue/total area) in the cortical area of the most affected animals. Finally, the level of GDF-9 protein within the oocytes of different follicle size was lower in the animals with the severe form of chronic mastitis (1.34±0.05 vs. 0.78±0.21 expressed as arbitrary units). In conclusion, decreased fertility of cows with chronic mastitis takes place through an effect on the ovary altering the dynamics of folliculogenesis. Within the ovary, this implies a reduction of the vascular bed and an increase in the fibrotic tissue together with a direct effect on oocyte-specific factors as GDF-9, all of which are essential regulatory elements of folliculogenesis.
|Titolo:||Chronic mastitis is associated with altered ovarian follicle development in dairy cattle|
|Parole Chiave:||Cattle; Follicular dynamics; Mastitis; Ovary|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore VET/05 - Malattie Infettive degli Animali Domestici|
Settore VET/01 - Anatomia degli Animali Domestici
|Data di pubblicazione:||apr-2012|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.3168/jds.2011-4815|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||01 - Articolo su periodico|