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Ruminant Mastitis Project

Understanding the role of STAT1, STAT3, and STAT5 in naturally occurring inflammatory lesions of the bovine and ovine mammary gland.

18463755996c363ce376oMastitis is a major welfare problem for dairy cows and sheep. It is painful for the animal and also results in significant economic losses. Most mastitis in the UK is caused by bacteria and whilst veterinary interventions focus on prevention through good management, many animals still succumb to infection at which point antibiotics are currently a mainstay of therapy.

The Signal Transducers and Activators of Transcription (or STAT) family are molecular factors which coordinate varied cellular processes, including inflammation, and mammary gland development. Importantly, they are critical in controlling the regression of the mammary gland at the end of lactation (involution), a time when dairy animals are particularly prone to mastitis (dry period mastitis).

This project will examine the expression patterns of three key mammary STATs in clinical samples obtained post mortem from cattle and sheep at varying times during lactation, natural involution, and during mastitis. The project will examine which cells are expressing which type of STAT. This will lead to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of dry period mastitis at a molecular level, and may potentially eventually lead to modulation of STAT signalling (currently under development in human medicine) in mastitis therapy. 

This project is funded by a BVA Animal Welfare Fund Norman Hayward Grant awarded to Kate Hughes (principal applicant) and P. Wood (co-applicant).

Vets wishing to contribute samples to this project are invited to contact Kate on kh387@cam.ac.uk

Ethical approval no: CR223 

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