, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 338–344 | Cite as

Association between BoLA and subclinical bovine leukemia virus infection in a herd of Holstein-Friesian cows

  • Harris A. Lewin
  • Ming-Che Wu
  • Julie A. Stewart
  • Timothy J. Nolan


The role of the bovine major histocompatibility system (BoLA) in subclinical bovine leukemia virus (BLV) infection was investigated in a herd of Holstein-Friesian cows (n=240). The BoLA W8.1 allele was negatively associated with the presence of antibodies to the major BLV envelope glycoprotein, BLV-gp51 (corrected P<0.001, relative risk =0.31). These results suggest that a BoLA-linked gene(s) may influence the early spread of BLV infection. Since B cells are the primary target of BLV infection, we then determined the relationship between BoLA-A locus phenotypes and B-cell numbers in peripheral blood of seropositive and seronegative cows. There were no significant differences between BoLA-A alleles for any hematological parameter in seronegative cows. Seropositive cows with the W12.1 allele had significantly greater absolute numbers of lymphocytes per microliter and B cells per microliter than did seropositive cows with other BoLA-A phenotypes (P<0.01, respectively). The average effect associated with the W12.1 allele in BLV-infected cows was an increase of 2010 B cells per microliter of whole blood relative to BLV-infected cows with other BoLA-A phenotypes. These results demonstrate that susceptibility to the polyclonal expansion of BLV-infected B lymphocytes is associated with the W12.1 allele in Holstein-Friesian cattle. Compared with results of a previous study in a herd of Shorthorn cattle, it appears that resistance and susceptibility to subclinical progression of BLV infection are associated with different BoLA-A locus alleles in different cattle breeds.

Abbreviations used in this paper


agar gel immunodiffusion


bovine leukemia virus


bovine lymphocyte antigen


enzootic bovine leukosis


human leukocyte antigen


major histocompatibility complex


persistent lymphocytosis


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Harris A. Lewin
    • 1
  • Ming-Che Wu
    • 1
  • Julie A. Stewart
    • 1
  • Timothy J. Nolan
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Immunogenetics, Department of Animal SciencesUniversity of IllinoisUrbanaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Animal Sciences126 Animal Sciences LaboratoryUrbanaUSA

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