Excess iodine intake by the pregnant dam reduces lamb serum antibody concentration, specifically immunoglobulin G (IgG). An experiment was conducted to investigate the mechanisms under pinning the reduced serum IgG concentration at 24 h postpartum in the progeny of iodine supplemented dams. Forty-five mature twin bearing ewes (n=15/treatment) were allocated to one of three dietary treatments as follows: basal diet (Control); basal diet plus 26.6 mg of iodine per ewe per day as calcium iodate (CaIO3); or potassium iodide (KI). Ewes were individually housed and fed from d 119 of gestation until parturition. All lambs received colostrum at 1, 10 and 18 h postpartum via stomach tube. At 1 h postpartum lambs from the control and an iodine supplemented treatment (n=10 per treatment from control and CaIO3) were euthanised before colostrum consumption and ileal segments isolated to determine the gene expression profile of a panel of genes identified as having a role in antibody transfer. Preceding euthanasia, lambs were blood sampled for determination of serum IgG, total thyroxine and free tri-iodothyronine concentrations. Progeny of CaIO3 supplemented dams had lower tri-iodothyronine concentrations (P<0.01) at 1 h postpartum and lower serum IgG concentrations (P<0.001) at 24 h postpartum when compared with the progeny of control dams. Iodine (CaIO3) supplementation of the dam increased the relative expression (P<0.05) of the B2M, PIGR and MYC genes in the ileum of the lamb, before colostrum consumption; while the expression of THRB declined when compared with the progeny of C dams (P<0.01). In conclusion, the results of this study show that it is the actual inclusion of excess iodine in the diet of the ewe, regardless of the carrier element, that negatively affects passive transfer in the newborn lamb. This study presents novel data describing the relationship between maternal iodine nutrition and its effect on the thyroid hormone status and subsequent gene expression in the newborn lamb; which results in a failure of passive transfer and a decline in serum IgG concentration.