Ontogeny of immunity and leukocytes in the ovine fetus and elevation of immunoglobulins related to congenital infection

Am J Vet Res. 1978 Apr;39(4):643-8.


Certain humoral and cellular aspects of the immune response were observed during gestation in the ovine fetus. Emergence and development of leukocytes in peripheral blood were observed. Morphologically mature lymphocytes were consistently present at 32 days of gestation, but mature neutrophils were not neutrophils were not consistently present until gestational day 123. Monocytes were first observed at 63 days and eosinophils at 112 days of gestational age. Numbers of each class of leukocyte increased from the time of their appearance until just prior to birth when they declined. Production of immunoglobulin G (IgG) and immunoglobulin M (IgM) was monitored from the time of their appearance at 56 and 77 days, respectively, until birth. In contrast to consistently low base-line values of IgG and IgM (below 0.22 mg/ml and 0.21 mg/ml, respectively) found in clinically normal, unstimulated fetuses, the immunoglobulin values in experimentally infected animals increased with the age of the fetus. This finding can be utilized in diagnosis of several congenital infections and anomalies.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood
  • Fetal Diseases / immunology
  • Fetal Diseases / veterinary
  • Fetus / immunology*
  • Gestational Age
  • Immunity*
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin M / analysis
  • Immunoglobulins / analysis
  • Infections / immunology
  • Infections / veterinary
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Leukocytes*
  • Pregnancy
  • Sheep / blood
  • Sheep / immunology*
  • Sheep Diseases / immunology


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Immunoglobulins