B cells

Minute amounts of immunoglobulins appear in the serum of healthy nonstimulated pig fetuses by 44 days of gestation (IgM 24 ng ml ', IgG 26 ng ml 1 and IgA 15ngml '). These levels increase during fetal ontogeny independently of external stimuli. Naturally occurring fetal IgM antibodies react with phylogenetically conserved molecules (trypsin, ssDNA) autoantigens (FSH, thymocytes) and bacterial components (tetanic anatoxin, E. coli O86). The concentrations of immunoglobulins in piglets and adults are shown in Table 1.

IgM, IgA, IgG and IgE are coded for by constant region genes. There is a high degree of sequence similarity between all pig C,, genes and those in humans.

Table 1 Porcine immunoglobulins in piglets and adults (mg/ml)
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