Libera, K., Konieczny, K., Grabska, J. et al. 2021. Potential novel biomarkers for mastitis diagnosis in sheep. Animals 11(10), 2783.
This review aims to characterize promising novel markers of ovine mastitis. Mastitis is considered as one of the primary factors for premature culling in dairy sheep and has noticeable financial, productional, and animal welfare-related implications. Furthermore, clinical, and subclinical mammary infections negatively affect milk yield and alter the milk composition, thereby leading to lowered quality of dairy products. It is, therefore, crucial to control and prevent mastitis through proper diagnosis, treatment or culling, and appropriate udder health management particularly at the end of the lactation period. The clinical form of mastitis is characterized by abnormalities in milk and mammary gland tissue alteration or systemic symptoms consequently causing minor diagnostic difficulties. However, to identify ewes with subclinical mastitis, laboratory diagnostics is crucial. Mastitis control is primarily dependent on determining somatic cell count (SCC) and the California Mastitis Test (CMT), which aim to detect the quantity of cells in the milk sample. The other useful diagnostic tool is microbial culture, which complements SCC and CMT. However, all mentioned diagnostic methods have their limitations and therefore novel biomarkers of ovine subclinical mastitis are highly desired. These sensitive indicators include acute-phase proteins, miRNA, and cathelicidins measurements, which could be determined in ovine serum and/or milk and in the future may become useful in early mastitis diagnostics as well as a preventive tool. This may contribute to increased detection of ovine mammary gland inflammation in sheep, especially in subclinical form, and consequently improves milk quality and quantity.