Local immunity in the mammary gland Academic Article uri icon


  • The mammary glands of pregnant and non-pregnant sheep were stimulated by infusion of killed Staphylococcus aureus, and the lymphoid cell response delineated with a panel of monoclonal antibodies. Seven days after antigen infusion, the mammary glands of both pregnant and non-pregnant sheep displayed a striking feature, characterised by the presence of numerous CD45R+ MHC class II+ B cells in the periductal connective tissues. These cells were seen to be clustering around blood capillaries with very prominent endothelial cell lining. Some CD5+ CD4+ lymphocytes were scattered among the B-cell clusters, whereas a few CD8+ lymphocytes were seen mainly at the periphery of the B-cell clusters. Fourteen days after antigen infusion, numerous plasma cells were observed, most of them being of the IgA isotype. Seven days after parturition (approximately 40 days after antigen infusion) the number of lymphocytes and plasma cells in the infused glands had declined dramatically. These data indicate that B cell and helper T-cell interaction can take place at the local sites of antigen stimulation in the mammary gland.

publication date

  • April 1992

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