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Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHBA) levels affect the bactericidal activity of bovine neutrophils against Escherichia coli

Extracellular neutrophils traps (NET), consisting of granule and nuclear neutrophils constituents, have been identified and provide additional microbial killing. This study evaluated the effect of increasing BHBA levels, similar to those that would be found in clinical and subclinical ketosis, on the formation of NETs. Neutrophils were incubated in increasing concentrations of BHBA and exposed to mammary-pathogenic E. coli. Normal neutrophils phagocytosed ~90% of E. coli whereas neutrophils exposed to the highest concentration of BHBA were only able to phagocytose 20% of the E. coli. These negative effects of BHBA may explain the increased susceptibility of ketotic cows to mastitis.


Grinberg, N. et al. 2008. β-Hydroxybutyrate abrogates formation of bovine neutrophils extracellular traps and bactericidal activity against mammary pathogenic Escherichia coli. Infection and Immunity. 76:2802-2807.