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Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2006 Apr 15;110(3-4):207-19. Epub 2005 Nov 28.

Immunopathological effects of porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) on swine alveolar macrophages by in vitro inoculation.

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Department of Veterinary Medicine, College of Bio-Resources and Agriculture, Graduate Institute of Veterinary Medicine, National Taiwan University, No. 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei 106, Taiwan, ROC.


Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) is the primary causative agent of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS), a multifactorial disease, in pigs. Monocyte/macrophage lineage cells, including alveolar macrophages (AMs), are the major target cells for PCV2. Swine AMs are essential for the pulmonary defense system against various pathogens. Concurrent infection of lung with opportunistic pathogens in pigs suffered from PMWS is speculated as a feature of immunosuppression. The present study was conducted to characterize the effects of PCV2 inoculation on swine AMs in the in vitro system. The parameters selected for evaluation included PCV2 antigen- and nucleic acid-containing rate, viability, TUNEL-positive rate, phagocytosis, microbicidal capability, and capacity for production of reactive oxygen species (superoxide anion, O2-, and hydrogen peroxide, H2O2), cytokines, and chemokines. High intracytoplasmic PCV2 antigen- and nucleic acid-containing rate, absence of intranuclear signals for PCV2 antigen and nucleic acid, and lack of noticeable cell death were seen in PCV2-inoculated AMs. The PCV2-inoculated AMs displayed a transient as well as persistent reduction in the up-take and destruction of Candida albicans, respectively, accompanied by decrease in the production of O2- and H2O2. In PCV2-inoculated AMs, the levels of tumor necrosis-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) were significantly increased; the mRNA expression levels of alveolar macrophage-derived neutrophil chemotactic factors-II (AMCF-II), granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1), and IL-8 were strongly up-regulated. The reduced phagocytosis and microbicidal capability in conjunction with decreased production of reactive oxygen species in PCV2-inoculated AMs suggest that PCV2-containing AMs may favor the survival and spread of PCV2. It is speculated that the functional alterations observed in PCV2-containing AMs may be potentially harmful to the lung tissue and local pulmonary defense system, especially in those PCV2-infected pigs conditioned by various PMWS development-dependent co-factors.

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