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Research article1993Peer reviewedOpen access

Variations during lactation in total and differential leukocyte counts, N-acetyl-ß-D-glucosaminidase, antitrypsin and serum albumin in foremilk and residual milk from non-infected quarters in the bovine

Östensson, Karin


Quarter samples of foremilk and residual milk were taken approximately every second week from 2 days post partum (pp) throughout lactation month 9, from 5 dairy cows in their second lactation period. Bacteriologically positive milk samples were excluded. The aim was to study the variation in total and differential leukocyte counts, N-acetyl-ß-D-glucosaminidase (NAGase), antitrypsin (ATR) and serum albumin (BSA) in milk during the lactation period and different stages of oestrous cycle. Also the between milkings variation was studied from lactation month 4 to 9. At 2 days pp, each fraction of milk contained significantly higher numbers of leukocytes and had a higher activity of NAGase and ATR than later in the lactation period. In foremilk the highest content of BSA was also recorded at 2 days pp. From lactation month 2 to 9, stage of lactation had, in general, a slight effect on the variation in the variables measured. The total leukocyte count in residual milk tended to increase as lactation proceeded. The proportion of monocyte-macrophages in foremilk was significantly decreased during the last 4 months. NAGase and BSA in both fractions and ATR in residual milk increased significantly towards the end of the lactation period. From lactation month 4 to 9 the highest recorded ranges of variation between milkings, within quarter and stage of lactation, in the total leukocyte count, proportions of neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocyte-macrophages, NAGase, ATR and BSA in foremilk were 215 × 103ml, 42 %, 34 %, 54 %, 6.68 units, 0.36 units and 0.14 mg/ml respectively. The corresponding figures in residual milk were higher except for the variation in BSA which was slightly lower in residual milk than in foremilk. In residual milk there was a positive correlation between the proportion of neutrophils and the total leukocyte count, when calculated on data from all cows and the entire experimental period. During the oestrous periods, the proportion of neutrophils in residual milk was higher than during the dioestrous periods. Foremilk and residual milk differed in the total as well as the differential leukocyte counts in all the various stages of lactation, whereas the contents of NAGase, ATR and BSA were equal in both fractions. The exception was 2 days pp when the proportions of lymphocytes were equal in both fractions and BSA-significantly higher in foremilk than in residual milk.

Published in

Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica
1993, Volume: 34, pages: 83-93

      SLU Authors

    • Östensson, Karin

      • Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Clinical Science

    Publication identifier


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