Leukocyte adhesion deficiency

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Visualization of BLAD restriction fragments (right arrows) produced by the αTaq1 enzyme on PCR products

Bovine leucocyte adhesion deficiency (BLAD) is a rare autosomal recessive lethal genetic disease of Holstein and Friesian cattle. Affected calves suffer from frequent infections, which either fail to respond to or recur after conventional treatment.

The disease is characterized by recurrent pneumonia, ulcerative and granulomatous stomatitis, enteritis, periodontitis, delayed wound healing, neutrophilia and early death. Affected calves normally die before reaching sexual maturity[1].

BLAD is caused by a point mutation in the gene encoding bovine CD18, producing a substitution of a guanine for adenine and of an aspartic acid to glycine at amino acid 128 (D128G)[2].

In calves born with leukocyte adhesion deficiency, infections by Salmonella spp can be fatal[3]. This disease has been commonly reported in Holstein and Friesian calves[4].

The resulting decline in use of semen from carrier bulls led to a decrease in the occurrence of the condition. The extensive use of artificial insemination in dairy cattle allows this strategy to have a rapid impact[5].


  1. Sun DX et al (2011) Short communication: Distribution of recessive genetic defect carriers in Chinese Holstein. J Dairy Sci 94(11):5695-5698
  2. Nasreen F et al(2009) Detection and screening of bovine leukocyte adhesion deficiency in Pakistan using molecular methods. Hereditas 146(2):74-78
  3. Nunes JS et al(2010) Morphologic and cytokine profile characterization of Salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium infection in calves with bovine leukocyte adhesion deficiency. Vet Pathol 47(2):322-333
  4. Nagahata H et al (1987) Bovine granulocytopathy syndrome: neutrophil dysfunction in Holstein Friesian calves. Zentralbl Veterinarmed A 34(6):445–451
  5. Meydan H et al (2010) Screening for bovine leukocyte adhesion deficiency, deficiency of uridine monophosphate synthase, complex vertebral malformation, bovine citrullinaemia, and factor XI deficiency in Holstein cows reared in Turkey. Acta Vet Scand 52:56