Honors Program Theses


Honors Program Thesis (UNI Access Only)

First Advisor

David McClenahan, Honors Thesis Advisor, Biology Department


Epithelial cells; Actin; Cell receptors; Mastitis--Prevention;


Epithelial cells lining secretory ducts of bovine mammary glands regulate movement of macromolecules and cells during normal lactation and mastitis. Bovine mastitis is an inflammatory disease of the mammary glands typically caused by a bacterial infection. During mastitis, host and bacteria produced substances can affect this bovine epithelial cell layer. One of these substances is adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP interacts with the P2X7 receptor, a purinergic receptor, and mediates some of the pathologic changes associated with mastitis, including the changes in cell permeability. The bovine mammary gland epithelial cell line, MacT cells, were examined for actin cytoskeleton changes as a result of this interaction. The actin is important because of its impact on cellular structure and its potential to modulate cell permeability during inflammation. Actin cytoskeletons were stained using phalloidin and examined using fluorescent microscopy. Observable changes in actin fibrils was noted in ATP treated cells. Results indicate ATP modulating epithelial cells in bovine mammary glands through interaction with the P2X7 receptor. The P2X7 receptor may be responsible for the effects observed due to the exposure of extracellular ATP, and, therefore, is an important component of the inflammatory pathway.

Year of Submission



Department of Biology

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (v, 44 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download