Association of class I bovine lymphocyte antigen complex alleles with in vitro blood neutrophil functions, lymphocyte blastogenesis, serum complement and conglutinin levels in dairy cattle Academic Article uri icon


  • Ninety-eight lactating Holstein cows from two genetic lines selected for high and average milk production were used in the study. Five peripheral blood samples were collected over a 60-day period from each cow for evaluation of neutrophil function, lymphocyte blastogenesis, leukocyte count, and serum complement and conglutinin levels. Blood samples were typed for antigens encoded by alleles at the bovine major histocompatibility complex (BoLA) A locus. Alleles w14(w8), w20A, and w19(w6) were the most frequent of 14 alleles present in this herd. Association of BoLA type with immune function results was examined by using gene substitution models including and ignoring sire effects. Alleles w15(w8) and w16 were associated with greater circulating mononuclear cell and total leukocyte numbers, while w27(w10), w11, and w20A were associated with lower numbers of these cell types. Alleles EU28D and w20A were positively and negatively associated with granulocyte percentage, respectively. Allele w16 was associated with greater antibody-independent neutrophil cytotoxicity, unstimulated lymphocyte proliferation, serum conglutinin activity, and with lower antibody-dependent neutrophil cytotoxicity. Allele w19(w6) was associated with decreased conglutinin activity and decreased neutrophil iodination. Increased antibody-dependent neutrophil cytotoxicity was observed for animals bearing allele w14(w8), and decreased neutrophil iodination, serum conglutinin, and nonstimulated lymphocyte blastogenesis were observed in individuals carrying w20A or EU28D. Significance of both sire and BoLA complex effects suggests that both major histocompatibility complex genes and background genes of the sire significantly affect immune function. This research suggests BoLA-A locus genes may be major genes or markers for closely linked major genes involved in regulation of nonspecific immune function.


  • Weigel, KA
  • Kehrli, Marcus E
  • Freeman, AE
  • Thurston, John R
  • Stear, MJ
  • Kelley, DH

publication date

  • February 1991