[en] Persistent accumulation of inflammatory cells in the udder, with neutrophils being the predominant cell type, is a characteristic feature of chronic mastitis in dairy cows. Leukotriene (LT) B-4 is a potent chemotactic agent, known to induce recruitment and accumulation of neutrophils in the bovine mammary gland. The LTB4-stimulated neutrophil functional responses are closely opposed by lipoxin (LX) A(4), which promotes the resolution of inflammation. We thus hypothesized that the chronic inflammation of the udder could be associated with an unfavorable ratio between these two eicosanoids and that the persistence of neutrophil accumulation could be due to an increase in LTB4 synthesis and/or an impaired LXA(4) production. In an attempt to verify this hypothesis, we first measured LXA(4), LTB4, and their ratio in the milk of healthy and acute and chronic mastitis-affected quarters. Next, we studied the relationships between these variables and the degree of udder inflammation as assessed by somatic cell count measurement. The LTB4 concentration was low in healthy quarters, drastically increased in acute mastitis, and reached intermediate levels in chronic mastitis-affected quarters. However, whereas LXA(4) concentration was highly increased in acute mastitis, healthy and chronic quarters had similarly low values. The LXA(4):LTB4 ratio was thus significantly lower in chronic mastitis-affected cows. The LTB4 concentrations measured in chronic quarters were highly correlated to somatic cell count and to milk neutrophil and macrophage numbers. A weaker correlation was observed between LXA(4) and these variables. For both eicosanoids, the highest correlation was observed with the number of neutrophils. These results show the existence of an LXA(4):LTB4 imbalance in chronic mastitis-affected cows because of low LXA(4) concentrations. Further studies are needed to determine whether administration of LX or stable analogs could have therapeutic potential in the control of chronic bovine mastitis.
This work was partly supported by Janssen Animal Health (Belgium) and the Ministère des Classes Moyennes et de l'Agriculture Belgium. Boutet Ph. supported by FRIA. Bureau F. supported by FNRS