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Viral Immunol. 2005;18(2):333-41.

Correlation between type of adaptive immune response against porcine circovirus type 2 and level of virus replication.

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  • 1Laboratory of Virology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Belgium.


Porcine circovirus 2 (PCV2) replication is characterized by high variation among infected pigs. This study investigated the role of immunologic responses in causing this variation. Twelve gnotobiotic pigs were inoculated with PCV2. Four of these pigs were treated with cyclosporin A (CysA) to monitor the effect of the adaptive immunity on the development of the PCV2 infection. Through lymph node biopsies at 10, 15, and 21 days postinoculation (DPI), PCV2 replication in lymphoid tissues was monitored. The production of total PCV2-specific and PCV2-neutralizing antibodies was followed, together with interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) mRNA expression levels in peripheral blood monocytes as a marker for cellular immunity. In general, the CysA-treated pigs showed the highest PCV2 titers, indicating that the adaptive immunity is necessary to restrain PCV2 replication. Three different PCV2 replication patterns were observed in non-CysA-treated pigs. Pattern 1: In two pigs, PCV2 was not detected. They had the highest neutralizing antibody titers, appearing from 15 DPI. In these pigs a good cellular response was indicated by a peak in IFN-gamma mRNA at 15 DPI. Pattern 2: Five pigs contained low to moderate PCV2 titers at 15 DPI, remaining constant or decreasing towards 21 DPI. Lower neutralizing antibody titers were observed and no rise in IFN-gamma was detected. Pattern 3: In one pig, a low PCV2 titer at 15 DPI dramatically increased toward 21 DPI. Although an antibody response against PCV2 was mounted, no PCV2-neutralizing antibodies were detected. This pig also showed no rise in IFN-gamma. The study findings indicate that variation in the onset of the adaptive immunity may account for variation in PCV2 replication among pigs. Absence of PCV2-neutralizing antibodies may be an important factor in the development of an increased virus replication.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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