Genetic Association of Bovine Lymphocyte Antigen DRB3 Alleles with Immunological Traits of Holstein Cattle

A. B. Dietz, J. C. Detilleux, A. E. Freeman, D. H. Kelley, J. R. Stabel, M. E. Kehrli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


The associations between alleles at the BoLA (bovine lymphocyte antigen) DRB3 locus and 20 indicator traits of innate and adaptive immunity were investigated. Periparturient Holsteins (n = 127) were genotyped at the BoLA DRB3 locus using polymerase chain reaction and restriction fragment length polymorphism. Twenty-two alleles were observed in the study population, and frequencies ranged from 21 to <1%. The same cattle were tested for a total of 20 innate and adaptive immunity traits, including lymphocyte response to mitogens (proliferative responses and Ig secretion), serum Ig, complement and conglutinin concentrations, total leukocyte count, and selected assays for neutrophil function. Models with gene substitution effects were used to investigate associations between BoLA DRB3 alleles and each of the immunological variables. Significant associations were found with 13 of the leukocyte functions tested. The number of immune parameters with significant associations with any allele ranged from 0 (with alleles DRB3.2*23 and DRB3.2*27) to 7 (with DRB3.2*8). The immunological parameter that had the most associations with alleles was serum IgG2 concentration with 6 alleles. One group of 4 alleles (representing 46% of the total allele frequency) was uniformly associated with increased IgM and complement and decreased mononuclear cell numbers. Thus, we demonstrated that the BoLA DRB3 genotype can influence measures of innate and adaptive immunity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-405
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1997


  • Bovine lymphocyte antigen
  • Genetics
  • Major histocompatibility complex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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