The immune status of bovine somatic clones

Cloning Stem Cells. 2009 Jun;11(2):309-18. doi: 10.1089/clo.2008.0080.


Agronomical applications of cloned livestock produced by somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) have been authorized in the United States and the European Food Safety Authority published that there was no evidence of risks associated with the use of cloned animal in the breeding industry. Both assessments, however, underlined that complementary data are needed to update their conclusions. SCNT is associated with a high incidence of perinatal losses. After birth, cloned cattle appear to possibly present subtle immune defects, requiring extensive studies to be properly evidenced. Twenty-five cloned Holstein heifers from five distinct genotypes and their contemporary age- and sex-matched controls were compared. An extensive survey of leukocyte subsets was performed and the humoral and T-cell immune responses to exogenous antigens were studied. Cloned cattle presented a normal representation of leukocyte subsets. Functional immunity was not modified in cloned heifers, as they were able to raise an antibody response and to develop B and T cell-specific responses against the model antigen OVA (ovalbumin) and against a rotavirus vaccine as in controls. Thus, this extensive analysis supports previous data suggesting that cloned cattle have a normal immunity.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies / immunology
  • Cattle
  • Clone Cells / immunology*
  • Female
  • Immune System / immunology*
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / cytology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / cytology
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Male
  • Nuclear Transfer Techniques
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy, Animal*


  • Antibodies