Age and genetic selection affect auto-immune profiles of chickens

H.K. Parmentier, E. Harms, A. Lammers, M.G.B. Nieuwland

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Specificity, antibody isotype distribution and levels, of natural autoantibodies (NAAb) may be potential informative parameters for immune mediated natural disease resistance, immune modulation, and maintenance of physiological homeostasis. In a previous study we detected IgM and IgG antibodies to liver antigens in plasma from 1 year old chickens. Auto-immune profiles directed towards liver antigens differed between chicken lines divergently selected for specific antibody responses to sheep red blood cells. In the present study we measured the presence and typed levels and antibody isotypes (IgG and IgM) of NAAb binding the ‘auto-antigen’ complex chicken liver cell lysate (CLL) in plasma samples obtained from chickens at 5 weeks and at 1-year of age, respectively, by quantitative western blotting. Extensive staining patterns of plasma antibodies binding CLL were found for both isotypes and at both ages in all birds. At both ages, IgM and IgG bound similar numbers of CLL antigens, which remained almost constant for IgM, whereas the number of IgG stained bands in time was enhanced. Significant differences of binding patterns of NAAb (stained antigen fragments of CLL and staining intensity) were detected between the three different chicken lines at both ages and between both ages, and lines could be clustered on the basis of their auto-antibody profile. The present results indicate that analysis of the plasma NAAb repertoire of poultry like in mammals could provide a way of distinguishing differences of immune competence (as reflected by the selection criterion of antibody responses) between individuals and lines, and could provide tools to select individual birds for health and other traits. The age-dependency of the auto-immune profile suggest that such profiles may also reflect immune maturation, which should be taken into account when relating an auto-immune profile with other traits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-214
JournalDevelopmental and Comparative Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • reactive antibody repertoires
  • natural antibodies
  • immunological homunculus
  • autoantibody repertoire
  • serum igm
  • immunoglobulin
  • specificities
  • stability
  • antigens
  • survival

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