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Mapping quantitative trait loci for T lymphocyte subpopulations in peripheral blood in swine

Xin Lu12, Jian-Feng Liu1, Yuan-Fang Gong13, Zhi-Peng Wang1, Yang Liu1 and Qin Zhang1*

Author Affiliations

1 Key Laboratory of Animal Genetics Breeding and Reproduction, Ministry of Agriculture, College of Animal Science and Technology, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China

2 State Key Laboratory for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, National Institute for Communicable Disease Control and Prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, P.O. Box 5, Changping, Beijing 102206, China

3 Department of Animal Science, Hebei Normal University of Science and Technology, Changli, Hebei 066600, China

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BMC Genetics 2011, 12:79  doi:10.1186/1471-2156-12-79

Published: 16 September 2011



Increased disease resistance through improved general immune capacity would be beneficial for the welfare and productivity of farm animals. T lymphocyte subpopulations in peripheral blood play an important role in immune capacity and disease resistance in animals. However, very little research to date has focused on quantitative trait loci (QTL) for T lymphocyte subpopulations in peripheral blood in swine.


In the study, experimental animals consist of 446 piglets from three different breed populations. To identify QTL for T lymphocyte subpopulations in peripheral blood in swine, the proportions of CD4+, CD8+, CD4+CD8+, CD4+CD8-, CD4-CD8+, and CD4-CD8- T cells and the ratio of CD4+:CD8+ T cells were measured for all individuals before and after challenge with modified live CSF (classical swine fever) vaccine. Based on the combined data of individuals from three breed populations, genome-wide scanning of QTL for these traits was performed based on a variance component model, and the genome wide significance level for declaring QTL was determined via permutation tests as well as FDR (false discovery rate) correction. A total of 27 QTL (two for CD4+CD8+, one for CD4+CD8-, three for CD4-CD8+, two for CD4-CD8-, nine for CD4+, two for CD8+, and eight for CD4+:CD8+ ratio) were identified with significance level of FDR < 0.10, of which 11 were significant at the level of FDR < 0.05, including the five significant at FDR < 0.01.


Within these QTL regions, a number of known genes having potential relationships with the studied traits may serve as candidate genes for these traits. Our findings herein are helpful for identification of the causal genes underlying these immune-related trait and selection for immune capacity of individuals in swine breeding in the future.

T lymphocyte subpopulations; quantitative trait loci; swine