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Lactation stage-dependent changes of lymphocyte subpopulations in mammary secretions: inversion of CD4+/CD8+ T cell ratios at parturition.


Am J Reprod Immunol. 1997 May;37(5):378-83. Unique Identifier : AIDSLINE

PROBLEM: Determination of lactation stage-dependent changes in levels of lymphocyte subpopulations in milk. METHOD: Flow cytometric assay was used to identify and assay lymphocyte subpopulations in bovine milk at different stages of lactation. RESULTS: Lymphocyte subpopulations in mammary secretions of dairy cows change during the lactation cycle. In involuting glands (dry gland), approximately 80-90% of lymphocytes were CD2+ T cells. The proportion of CD2+ T cells, however, decreased to approximately 50% at the colostral stage an fluctuated between 50 to 60% in normal (mature) milk. Throughout the lactation stages, less than 5% were B cells as identified by the monoclonal antibodies against CD21 and MHC class II antigens. Subset analysis showed, however, that the proportion of CD5+ T cells decreased from 90% in involuting gland secretions to 75% in colostrum (peripartum stage), and to approximately 40-50% in the normal (mature) milk, CD4+ T cells constituted between 45 to 55% of lymphocytes in the dry gland secretion but decreased drastically at parturition and maintained at the level below 20% throughout normal lactation. In contrast, the proportion of CD8+ T cells in the dry gland secretion was low, between 30 to 40%, but increased steadily, in an inversely-related manner with that of CD4+ T cells, to approximately 40-50% at parturition and maintained at approximately 30-40% during the normal lactation stage thereafter. Two-color immunofluorescence study revealed further that practically all of the CD8+ cells in dry gland secretions were CD2+, and approximately 40% of them were CD5-. Throughout the lactation cycle, WC1+ gamma delta T cells comprised only 2 to 5% of lymphocytes in mammary secretions. CONCLUSIONS: T lymphocyte subpopulations change dynamically during stages of the lactation cycle. The selective migration of T lymphocyte subpopulations to and from the mammary gland, and their functional roles in the immune competence and regulation of the dam and sucklings remain to be elucidated.

*CD4-CD8 Ratio *Lactation/IMMUNOLOGY *Lymphocyte Subsets/IMMUNOLOGY *Milk/IMMUNOLOGY


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