Genetic parameters of IgM and IgG antibodies binding autoantigens in healthy chickens

Mandy Bao, H. Bovenhuis, M.G.B. Nieuwland, H.K. Parmentier, J.J. van der Poel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Levels of natural antibodies (NAb) binding keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) in layers were shown to be heritable and to be potential indicative parameters for survival. A proportion of NAb are directed to self-molecules, or slightly changed self-molecules (neo-epitopes), labeled as natural autoantibodies (NAAb). It is unknown whether the levels of NAAb are heritable and genetically correlated. In this paper, we estimated genetic parameters in plasma of healthy layers for IgM and IgG antibodies binding ovalbumin (OVA), myosin (MYO), cardiolipin (CAR), lysozyme (LYS), and the model antigen keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH). A linear animal model was used to estimate (co)variance components, heritabilities, and correlations. The estimates of heritabilities ranged from 0.10 to 0.17 for IgM, and 0.02 to 0.11 for IgG, respectively. For both IgM and IgG, high genetic correlations were observed between levels of NAAb binding autoantigens and NAb binding KLH, except for IgG binding KLH and LYS, for which a low genetic correlation was found. Low to moderate phenotypic correlations were found between NAAb and NAb. In addition, significant maternal environmental effects of 0.03, 0.07, and 0.04 were observed for IgM binding OVA, LYS, and KLH, respectively. Results from this study indicated that NAAb or NAb levels in plasma were heritable and could provide tools to identify the health status of birds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)458-465
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • chicken
  • natural autoantibodies
  • autoantigen
  • genetic parameters


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