Genetic and Phenotypic Selection Affect Natural (Auto-) Antibody Reactivitiy of Chickens

B.G. de Jong, A. Lammers, L.A.A. Oberendorf, M.G.B. Nieuwland, H.F.J. Savelkoul, H.K. Parmentier

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Specificity, antibody isotype distribution and levels of natural antibodies (NAb) may be potential informative parameters for immune mediated natural disease resistance, immune modulation, and maintenance of physiological homeostasis. A large proportion of mammalian NAb have affinity for or are directed against self-antigens; so called natural auto antibodies (N(A)Ab). In the present study we showed the presence and typed levels and isotypes (total immunoglobulins, IgG and IgM) of N(A)Ab in plasma binding the ‘auto-antigen’ complex chicken liver cell lysate (CLL) of one-year old chickens from different genotype and phenotype backgrounds by ELISA and quantitative Western blotting. Higher levels of N(A)Ab binding CLL were found in plasma from chickens genetically selected for high specific antibody responses. In all birds, extensive staining patterns of plasma antibodies binding CLL were found for all isotypes, with IgG binding the highest number of CLL antigens and also showing the highest variation in staining patterns between individuals. Patterns of IgM antibodies binding CLL appeared to be more similar in all lines. Significant differences of binding patterns of N(A)Ab (antigen fragments of CLL and staining intensity) were detected between the different chicken lines, and lines could be clustered on the basis of their auto-antibody profile. In addition, also individual differences within lines were found. The present results indicate that analysis of the levels and the N(A)Ab repertoire of poultry like in mammals could provide a new way of distinguishing differences of immune competence and immune maturation between individuals, and could provide tools to select birds for health traits, or optimize hygiene and husbandry procedures.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere72276
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • immunological homunculus
  • autoantibody repertoire
  • serum igm
  • age
  • specificities
  • stability
  • responses
  • antigens
  • survival
  • isotypes

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