Int J Biol Sci 2013; 9(8):818-829. doi:10.7150/ijbs.6901

Research Paper

Stem Cell Research: A Novel Boulevard towards Improved Bovine Mastitis Management

Neelesh Sharma1,2, Dong Kee Jeong1 ✉

1. Department of Animal Biotechnology, Faculty of Biotechnology, Jeju National University, Jeju, South Korea
2. Department of Veterinary Medicine, Faculty of Veterinary Science, SKUAST-J, R.S. Pura, Jammu, J & K, India.

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Sharma N, Jeong DK. Stem Cell Research: A Novel Boulevard towards Improved Bovine Mastitis Management. Int J Biol Sci 2013; 9(8):818-829. doi:10.7150/ijbs.6901. Available from

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The dairy industry is a multi-billion dollar industry catering the nutritional needs of all age groups globally through the supply of milk. Clinical mastitis has a severe impact on udder tissue and is also an animal welfare issue. Moreover, it significantly reduces animal value and milk production. Mammary tissue damage reduces the number and activity of epithelial cells and consequently contributes to decreased milk production. The high incidence, low cure rate of this highly economic and sometimes deadly disease is an alarming for dairy sector as well as policy makers. Bovine mammary epithelial cells (MECs) and their stem cells are very important in milk production and bioengineering. The adult mammary epithelium consists of two main cell types; an inner layer of luminal epithelial cells, which produce the milk during lactation, and an outer layer of myoepithelial cells resting on a basement membrane, which are responsible for pushing the milk through the ductal network to the teat cistern. Inner layer of columner/luminal cells of bovine MECs, is characterized by cytokeratin18, 19 (CK18, CK19) and outer layer such as myoepithelial cells which are characterized by CK14, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and p63. Much work has been done in mouse and human, on mammary gland stem cell research, particularly in cancer therapy, but stem cell research in bovine is still in its infancy. Such stem/progenitor cell discoveries in human and mouse mammary gland bring some hope for application in bovines. These progenitors may be therapeutically adopted to correct the structural/cytological defects in the bovine udder due to mastitis. In the present review we focused on various kinds of stem/progenitor cells which can have therapeutic utility and their possibilities to use as a potential stem cell therapy in the management of bovine post-mastitis damage in orders to restore milk production. The possibilities of bovine mammary stem cell therapy offers significant potential for regeneration of tissues that can potentially replace/repair diseased and damaged tissue through differentiation into epithelial, myoepithelial and/or cuboidal/columnar cells in the udder with minimal risk of rejection and side effects.

Keywords: Bovine mastitis, Bovine mammary epithelial cell, Stem cell therapy.