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Leipzig University: “Molecular Whistleblowers”

New method: Biomarkers enable early diagnosis of mastitis in dairy cows. 

Complex diseases such as mastitis in dairy cows often lead to enormous economic damage: the animals produce less milk and it is less usable. Huge veterinary costs are also the result. Recognizing such inflammatory diseases as early as possible minimizes the use of antibiotics considerably and increases the milk yield of the cows. As "molecular whistleblowers", biomarkers and inflammatory markers often provide hidden information about a possible disease and support clinicians better and better in diagnosis and therapy. Researchers at Leipzig University have now developed a non-invasive detection method based on a specific biomarker. It enables early diagnosis and monitoring of the course of therapy of inflammatory diseases.

The project by Prof. Dr. Getu Abraham and his team from the Institute for Pharmacology, Pharmacy and Toxicology at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine are funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics. It helps to significantly reduce the risk of severe disease and the associated economic loss. "Because our process also prevents the development of multi-resistant germs and thus an inflationary use of antibiotics in livestock farming, we also make a contribution to animal welfare," explains Abraham.

The marker is a specific protein that is released from migrating inflammatory cells - for example, when a cow's milk has developed mastitis. "By isolating this protein, we have succeeded in obtaining an efficient biomarker that can predict the severity of mastitis in routine diagnostics. Consequently, with the help of the biomarker, it is possible to clearly diagnose mastitis in dairy cows even at the subclinical stage,” says Abraham.

The inflammatory marker is easily detected in milk samples without the need for invasive interventions on the animal. This means that animals at risk can be clearly identified and treated individually days before the actual symptoms of the disease appear. As studies by the team have shown, in the case of acute mastitis, the parameter increases significantly with a large amplitude in the milk without any noticeable time delay and falls quickly by more than a third of the original value after antibiotic therapy or after the inflammatory process has subsided. As a result, the biomarker can be used well for disease and therapy monitoring.

The research team is currently working on further developing the test procedure in order to enable simple on-site diagnostics close to the patient. In perspective, the application should be extended to different matrices such as blood, faeces or urine and validated for different species.

Source: Press release University of Leipzig from March 22.03.2021nd, XNUMX


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