Genetic parameters for natural antibodies and associations with specific antibody and mastitis in Canadian Holsteins.

Thompson-Crispi, K.A., Miglior, F., and Mallard, B.A. (2013). "Genetic parameters for natural antibodies and associations with specific antibody and mastitis in Canadian Holsteins.", Journal of Dairy Science (JDS), 96(6), pp. 3965-3972. doi : 10.3168/jds.2012-5919  Access to full text

Abstract

The objectives of this study were to evaluate (1) natural antibodies (NAb) in Canadian Holstein cows, (2) genetic parameters and associations between NAb and specific antibody (SpAb), and (3) the association of NAb with clinical mastitis and differences in incidence rates of clinical mastitis (IRCM) among cows classified as high, average, or low responders for NAb. Natural antibodies (IgG and IgM) to keyhole limpet hemocyanin and SpAb to a type 2 test antigen were measured on 451 Holsteins from 41 herds across Canada. A series of uni- and tri-variate linear animal models were used to estimate genetic parameters and breeding values for NAb and SpAb. The models included the fixed effects of parity and stage of lactation and the random effects of herd-technician, animal, and residual. Using estimated breeding values for NAb, cows were classified as high, average, or low responders and phenotypic associations with the IRCM were investigated and a logistic regression performed. The estimated heritability was 0.27 for SpAb, and was 0.32 and 0.18 for NAb of the IgG and IgM isotypes, respectively. No significant genetic correlations were found between SpAb and NAb. Although no significant differences in the IRCM were found when cows were classified based on NAb IgG, cows classified as high responders for NAb IgM tended to have a lower IRCM compared with other cows. Immunoglobulin-M was associated with a decreased risk of clinical mastitis (odds ratio = 0.958). Results of this study suggest the potential to use NAb IgM as an additional tool to select for disease resistance in cattle, but results need to be validated with a larger sample size.

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