Associations of the bovine major histocompatibility complex DRB3 (BoLA-DRB3) alleles with occurrence of disease and milk somatic cell score in Canadian dairy cattle. Academic Article uri icon


  • Potential associations were investigated between bovine leucocyte antigen (BoLA) alleles and occurrence of disease. Cows (Holstein n = 835; Jersey n = 66) were examined for polymorphisms of the second exon of the BoLA-DRB3 gene, using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), followed by digestion of the amplified fragments with three restriction endonucleases. Disease occurrences were recorded for each cow throughout one lactation. Milk somatic cell count data were retrieved through the Dairy Herd Improvement records and converted to somatic cell score (SCS). There were no effects of BoLA alleles on SCS in Jersey cows, but BoLA-DRB3.2*16 was significantly associated (P < or = 0.05) with lower SCS in Holsteins. Since the number of Jerseys was relatively small and prevalence of diseases in this population was low, health records of Jerseys were not analyzed further. BoLA associations with occurrence of disease in Holsteins were investigated using a log-linear model. There was a significant (P < or = 0.05) association between BoLA-DRB3.2*23 and occurrence of severe mastitis, from which coliforms were the most commonly isolated bacteria. The BoLA allele *3 was associated with a lower risk of retained placenta (P < or = 0.05) and alleles *16 (P < or = 0.05) and *22 (P < or = 0.05) with a lower risk of cystic ovarian disease. Although more studies are required to confirm the present findings, it can be concluded that BoLA alleles may have potential usefulness as genetic markers of higher or lower risk of disease occurrence in cows.

published proceedings

  • Anim Genet

author list (cited authors)

  • Sharif, S., Mallard, B. A., Wilkie, B. N., Sargeant, J. M., Scott, H. M., Dekkers, J. C., & Leslie, K. E.

citation count

  • 134

complete list of authors

  • Sharif, S||Mallard, BA||Wilkie, BN||Sargeant, JM||Scott, HM||Dekkers, JC||Leslie, KE

publication date

  • June 1998