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Vet Q. 1991 Jul;13(3):137-43.

Pathological, ultrastructural, and immunohistochemical changes caused by Lelystad virus in experimentally induced infections of mystery swine disease (synonym: porcine epidemic abortion and respiratory syndrome (PEARS)).

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Central Veterinary Institute, Virology Department, Lelystad, The Netherlands.


The pathogenicity and pathogenesis of Lelystad virus was studied in six 6-day-old SPF piglets. A third passage of the agent was propagated on porcine alveolar macrophages and intranasally inoculated into pigs. Pigs were killed at hours 24, 48, 60, and 72, and on days 6 and 8 after inoculation. From day 2 on pigs developed diffuse interstitial pneumonia with focal areas of catarrhal pneumonia, and from this day on splenic red pulp macrophages were enlarged and vacuolated. Lelystad virus was re-isolated from the lungs of infected pigs from day 2 after inoculation. Lelystad virus antigens were detected by immunohistochemical techniques in bronchiolar epithelium and alveolar cells, and in spleen cells of infected pigs from day 2 after inoculation. Ultrastructural examination of tissues by electron microscopy revealed degenerating alveolar macrophages and epithelial cells in lungs and nasal mucosa, with excessive vacuolation of the endoplasmic reticulum. Although the respiratory tract seems to be the target organ for this virus, macrophages in other organs, such as the spleen, can also be infected. This preference for macrophages may impair immunological defences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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