Cathelicidin and Mastitis

What are doing cathelicidins in the milk?

from Tobias Nordhausen/Flickr

Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of contagious mastitis in dairy cows, it reduces milk production and longevity (the main reason for involuntary cow culling). Current treatments with antibiotics are inconsistently effective, as S. aureus can survive inside neutrophils and mammary epithelial cells. Furthermore, the use of conventional antibiotics to treat bovine mastitis is increasing the appearance of multi-drug resistant strains, including methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), an important human pathogen.


This project investigates innate immune defenses in the udder, mostly contributed by cathelicidins, which are abundantly secreted by mammary epithelial cells and resident neutrophils. We aim to determine the function of cathelicidins in the pathogenesis of S. aureus mastitis and their contributions to udder host-microbial defenses to resist invading pathogens. Our long-term goal is to develop therapeutic alternatives and genetic selection tools to control mastitis.

Healthy murine mammary gland

Murine mammary gland infected with S. aureus

Intramammary injection

Other Projects


Swine Dysentery


Digital Dermatitis



Phone: (403) 210-7247

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