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Keywords:

  • Cattle;
  • histocompatibility;
  • immunology;
  • major histocompatibility complex class I;
  • pregnancy;
  • retained placenta

Citation Benedictus L, Thomas AJ, Jorritsma R, Davies CJ, Koets AP. Two-way calf to dam major histocompatibility class I compatibility increases risk for retained placenta in cattle. Am J Reprod Immunol 2012; 67: 224–230

Problem  In cattle, retained placenta (RP) is suggested to arise from failure of immune-mediated rejection of the fetal membranes by the maternal immune system and is associated with major histocompatibility (MHC) class I compatibility between calf and dam.

Method of study  To study the association between RP and different MHC class I compatibilities between calf–dam–granddam combinations, massively parallel pyrosequencing was used to determine the MHC class I haplotypes of cows with and without RP.

Results  Two-way calf to dam MHC class I compatibility gave a high risk for RP. There was a tendency for a higher risk for RP with calf to dam MHC class I compatibility.

Conclusions  We concluded that in two-way compatible pregnancies, the maternal immune system fails to reject the fetal membranes, and the fetal immune system does not mount an immune response against maternal MHC class I antigens that could influence the immune-mediated rejection of the fetal membranes by the maternal immune system. The lack of immune-mediated rejection of the fetal membranes by the maternal immune system increases the risk of occurrence of RP.