Natural autoantibodies (NAAb) have a role in maintaining physiological homeostasis and prevention of infections, and have been found in mammalian species tested so far. Albeit NAAb levels rise with age, little is known about the origin, function, regulation and initiation of NAAb in young animals. The present study addressed the presence of IgM and IgG NAAb binding glutamate dehydrogenase (GD), carbonic anhydrase (CA), myosin (MYO) and transferrin (TRANS) from before drinking colostrum until the first 12 weeks of life in plasma of female calves. In addition, NAAb to these four self-antigens were also measured in colostrum and in plasma of their mothers during three weeks before calving. Titers of NAAb binding GD, CA, MYO and TRANS were detected in plasma of cows before calving, in colostrum, and in plasma of calves before and after drinking of colostrum. Levels of NAAb in colostrum were positively related with levels of NAAb in plasma of cows. Before colostrum intake, levels of NAAb in plasma of calves were not related with levels of NAAb in plasma of their mother but were influenced by parity of their mother. After colostrum intake, levels of NAAb in plasma of calves in the first week of life were positively related with levels of NAAb in colostrum. Low NAAb levels in colostrum were related with low NAAb in plasma of calves in the first week of life, but after two weeks of life the relation between colostrum and plasma of calves was absent. In conclusion, NAAb are already present in the unborn calf, and levels of neonatal NAAb during the early weeks of life are affected by levels of maternal NAAb obtained via colostrum.
- Dry period
- Maternal antibody transfer