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BMC Vet Res. 2006 Jan 30;2:6.

Correlation between the presence of neutralizing antibodies against porcine circovirus 2 (PCV2) and protection against replication of the virus and development of PCV2-associated disease.

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



In a previous study, it was demonstrated that high replication of Porcine circovirus 2 (PCV2) in a gnotobiotic pig was correlated with the absence of PCV2-neutralizing antibodies. The aim of the present study was to investigate if this correlation could also be found in SPF pigs in which PMWS was experimentally reproduced and in naturally PMWS-affected pigs.


When looking at the total anti-PCV2 antibody titres, PMWS-affected and healthy animals seroconverted at the same time point, and titres in PMWS-affected animals were only slightly lower compared to those in healthy animals. In healthy animals, the evolution of PCV2-neutralizing antibodies coincided with that of total antibodies. In PMWS-affected animals, neutralizing antibodies could either not be found (sera from field studies) or were detected in low titres between 7 and 14 DPI only (sera from experimentally inoculated SPF pigs). Differences were also found in the evolution of specific antibody isotypes titres against PCV2. In healthy pigs, IgM antibodies persisted until the end of the study, whereas in PMWS-affected pigs they quickly decreased or remained present at low titres. The mean titres of other antibody isotypes (IgG1, IgG2 and IgA), were slightly lower in PMWS-affected pigs compared to their healthy group mates at the end of each study.


This study describes important differences in the development of the humoral immune response between pigs that get subclinically infected with PCV2 and pigs that experience a high level of PCV2-replication which in 3 of 4 experiments led to the development of PMWS. These observations may contribute to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of a PCV2-infection.

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