Physiological Threshold of Somatic Cell Count in Milk of Polish Heath Sheep and Polish Lowland Sheep

Wiesław Piotr Świderek 1 , Krystyna Małgorzata Charon 1 , Anna Winnicka 2 , Joanna Gruszczyńska 1  and Mariusz Pierzchała 3
  • 1 Department of Animal Genetics and Breeding, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Ciszewskiego 8, 02-786 Warsaw, Poland
  • 2 Department of Pathology and Laboratory Diagnostics, Warsaw University of Life Sciences, Nowoursynowska 159, 02-776 Warsaw, Poland
  • 3 Department of Molecular Cytogenetics, Institute of Genetics and Animal Breeding of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Jastrzębiec, Postępu 36A, 05-552 Magdalenka, Poland


The study was conducted on 320 sheep of two breeds: Polish Heath Sheep (PHS) and Polish Lowland Sheep (PLS). Udder health status was assessed based on somatic cell count (SCC) and bacteriological examination of milk. Cells of the immune system (leukocyte populations and lymphocyte subpopulations) were identified in the blood and milk of sheep by flow cytometry, using a panel of specific monoclonal antibodies and fluorescent dyes. The study showed that the highest proportion of neutrophils and a lower percentage of lymphocytes (CD4+, CD8+, CD19+, WC1-N2+) in milk and blood occurred in sheep of both breeds in which milk SCC ranged between 201 and 300×103 cells/ml. In light of existing research, these results suggest that fluctuations in somatic cell count of ewe milk are physiologically determined up to 200×103cells/ml and result from udder health disturbances above this level.

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