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BMC Vet Res. 2010 Jun 4;6:30. doi: 10.1186/1746-6148-6-30.

Pathogenesis and antigenic characterization of a new East European subtype 3 porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus isolate.

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Laboratory of Virology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Salisburylaan 133, 9820 Merelbeke, Belgium.



Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is divided into a European and North American genotype. East European PRRSV isolates have been found to be of the European genotype, but form different subtypes. In the present study, PRRSV was isolated from a Belarusian farm with reproductive and respiratory failure and designated "Lena". Analyses revealed that Lena is a new East European subtype 3 PRRSV isolate. The main purpose of this investigation was to study the pathogenesis and antigenic characteristics of PRRSV (Lena).


Obvious clinical and virological differences were observed between the animals inoculated with a recent European subtype 1 PRRSV isolate (Belgium A) and animals inoculated with PRRSV (Lena). Three out of six pigs inoculated with PRRSV (Belgium A) had anorexia and low fever at 3, 4 and 5 days post-inoculation (dpi). High fever, anorexia and depression were prominent signs in most pigs inoculated with PRRSV (Lena) between 2 and 28 dpi. Four pigs out of ten died during the experiment. Arcanobacterium pyogenes was isolated from lungs of one animal that died, and Streptococcus suis was isolated from lungs of one animal that was euthanized. The difference in viral titres in sera from PRRSV (Belgium A) and PRRSV (Lena)-infected pigs was statistically significant (p < 0.05) at 7, 10, 14 and 21 dpi. The highest viral titres in sera ranged from 10(4.8) to 10(6.1) TCID50/ml for PRRSV (Lena) whereas they ranged from 10(3.1) to 10(4.8) TCID50/ml for PRRSV (Belgium A).The replication of PRRSV (Lena) was further studied in depth. Viral titres ranged from 10(2.5) TCID50/100 mg to 10(5.6) TCID50/100 mg in nasal secretions between 3 and 14 dpi and from 10(2.8) TCID50/100 mg to 10(4.6) TCID50/100 mg in tonsillar scrapings between 3 and 21 dpi. High viral titres were detected in lungs (10(2.3)-10(7.7) TCID50/g tissue), tonsils (10(2.0)-10(6.2) TCID50/g tissue) and inguinal lymph nodes (10(2.2)-10(6.6) TCID50/g tissue) until 35, 28 and 35 dpi, respectively.To examine the antigenic heterogeneity between the East European subtype 3 isolate Lena, the European subtype 1 strain Lelystad and the North American strain US5, sets of monospecific polyclonal antisera were tested in immunoperoxidase monolayer assays (IPMAs) with homologous and heterologous viral antigens. Heterologous antibody titres were significantly lower than homologous titres (p = 0.01-0.03) for antisera against PRRSV (Lena) at all sampling time points. For antisera against PRRSV (Lelystad) and PRRSV (US5), heterologous antibody titres were significantly lower than homologous titres at 14 and 21 dpi (p = 0.01-0.03) and at 10 and 14 dpi (p = 0.04), respectively.


Lena is a highly pathogenic East European subtype 3 PRRSV, which differs from European subtype 1 Lelystad and North American US5 strains at both the genetic and antigenic level.

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