Inflammation in the bovine female reproductive tract.

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188 Scopus citations


Inflammation of the reproductive tract of a cow occurs when the physical and functional barriers to contamination are breached or specific infection occurs. Commonly, contamination occurs at parturition and to a lesser extent at estrus. Uterine contamination following calving is common, but most healthy cows are able to clear the uterus of bacteria in the first 2 to 3 wk after calving. Persistent infections are more likely to be caused by Actinomyces pyogenes. Specific venereal infections tend to be more host-adapted and produce a lower grade inflammation. Nonspecific bacterial contamination of the endometrium generally induces a neutrophilic influx into the stratum compactum and uterine lumen. Neutrophils phagocytize bacteria with the aid of opsonins in the uterine fluid. Mast cells and eosinophils may also contribute to the inflammatory reaction, which may damage the surface epithelium and release vasoactive substances that allow leakage of serum antibodies into the uterine secretions. Specific antibodies of immunoglobulin (Ig) isotype A, M, G1, and G2 in uterine secretions have been described. In model species, the immune capability of the uterus is influenced by steroid hormones, especially estradiol, which increases secretory component and both IgA and IgG content in uterine secretions and increases the activity of antigen-presenting cells in the uterus. Similar cyclic fluctuations in immune components have been described for cows, including changes in the population of subsurface cytotoxic and helper T cells and changes in the expression of major histocompatibility II antigen on surface cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-110
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Animal Science
Volume77 Suppl 2
StatePublished - Dec 1 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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