Previous studies in deliberately infected sheep have shown an association between IgA activity against 4th-stage larvae of Teladorsagia circumcincta and parasite growth, development and fecundity. The purpose of this research was to determine if these results could be confirmed in naturally infected sheep and to explore the hypothesis that plasma IgA activity could help to identify resistant lambs with shorter adult nematodes. Plasma IgA activity was skewed with most animals having relatively low levels of IgA activity. Plasma IgA activity was repeatable and highly heritable. Animals with increased IgA activity had lower egg counts and shorter adult female T. circumcincta. Therefore, under conditions of natural parasite challenge, plasma IgA activity may help to identify lambs resistant to T. circumcincta.
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