Several quantitative trait loci (QTL) affecting mastitis incidence and mastitis-related traits such as somatic cell score exist in dairy cows. Previously, QTL haplotypes associated with susceptibility to Escherichia coli mastitis in Nordic Holstein-Friesian (HF) cows were identified on Bos taurus autosome 9. In the present study, we induced experimental E. coli mastitis in Danish HF cows to investigate the effect of 2 E. coli mastitis-associated QTL haplotypes on the cows' disease phenotypes and recovery in early lactation. Thirty-two cows were divided in 2 groups bearing haplotypes with either low (HL) or high (HH) susceptibility to E. coli. In addition, biopsies (liver and udder) were collected from half of the cows (n = 16), resulting in a 2 × 2 factorial design, with haplotype being one factor (HL vs. HH) and biopsy being the other factor (biopsies vs. no biopsies). Each cow was inoculated with a low E. coli dose (20 to 40 cfu) in one front quarter at time 0 h. Liver biopsies were collected at -144, 12, 24, and 192 h; udder biopsies were collected at 24 h and 192 h post-E. coli inoculation. The clinical parameters: feed intake, milk yield, body temperature, heart rate, respiration rate, rumen motility; and the paraclinical parameters: bacterial counts, somatic cell count (SCC), and milk amyloid A levels in milk; and white blood cell count, polymorphonuclear neutrophilic leukocyte (PMNL) count, and serum amyloid A levels in blood were recorded at different time points post-E. coli inoculation. Escherichia coli inoculation changed the clinical and paraclinical parameters in all cows except one that was not infected. Clinically, the HH group tended to have higher body temperature and heart rate than the HL group did. Paraclinically, the HL group had faster PMNL recruitment and SCC recovery than the HH group did. However, we also found interactions between the effects of haplotype and biopsy for body temperature, heart rate, and PMNL. In conclusion, when challenged with E. coli mastitis, HF cows with the specific Bos taurus autosome 9-located QTL haplotypes were associated with differences in leukocyte kinetics, with low-susceptibility cows having faster blood PMNL recruitment and SCC recovery and a tendency for a milder clinical response than the high-susceptibility cows did.
Journal of Dairy Science, 2013, Vol 96, Issue 3, p. 1820-1833