To improve resilience of dairy cows, parameters like levels of natural antibodies (NAbs) can be used. The present study aimed to identify differences between levels of NAbs in milk- and blood from dairy cows, and subsequently estimate genetic parameters for NAb immunoglobulin isotypes IgM and IgG. Titres of NAb binding Keyhole Limpet Hemocyanin (KLH), simultaneously measured in blood plasma and milk, were obtained using ELISA. Results revealed that factors like herd, parity and lactation stage influence NAb levels. Moderate positive phenotypic correlations (0.34-0.38) between milk- and blood NAbs were observed, indicating that NAbs from plasma and milk might reflect different aspects of a cow’s immune status. Genetic correlations ranged from 0.80 to 0.89 between NAbs in milk and plasma. NAbs in plasma showed slightly higher heritabilities (0.18-0.28) compared to NAbs in milk (0.09-0.24), suggesting both might have potential for genetic selection.

Britt de Klerk, Bart J Ducro, Henri CM Heuven, Ingrid den Uyl, Johan AM van Arendonk, Henk K Parmentier, Jan J van der Poel

Proceedings of the World Congress on Genetics Applied to Livestock Production, Volume Species Breeding: Dairy cattle (Posters), , 816, 2014
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