Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) is an elusive model of host/virus relationship in which disease is determined by virus pathogenicity, pig breed susceptibility and phenotype, microbial infectious pressure and environmental conditions. Successful disease control in PRRS-endemic Countries corresponds to "stability", i.e. a condition with no clinical signs of PRRS in the breeding-herd population and no viremia in weaning-age pigs.
The aim of this work was to compare the profile and time-course of humoral and cell-mediated immunity in stable and unstable herds, respectively. In particular, we investigated PRRS virus (PRRSV) in serum and group oral fluid samples by Real-time RT-PCR, PRRSV-specific IgA and IgG in oral fluids, serum IgG antibody and the cell-mediated response (PRRSV-specific release of interferon-gamma) in whole blood samples. These parameters were measured in order to identify possible discrepancies in the development and kinetics of the immune response against PRRSV. PRRS-free gilts got regularly infected after entering PRRS-stable and unstable farms. In an open cycle, unstable pig farm PRRSV infection could be demonstrated in all groups of pigs, including suckling piglets.
Four main results should be highlighted: A) the precocity of the Ab response in group oral fluids was generally similar to that recorded in sera; B) circulation of PRRSV was consistently detected in all age groups in the unstable herds, as opposed to the stable ones; C) an early, balanced, IgA and IgG response in oral fluids was only observed in the stable herds; D) an early IFN-gamma response after PRRSV infection was often observed in stable herds, as opposed to the unstable ones. These were characterized by IFN-gamma responses in piglets, likely due to transfer of maternal immunity. Most important, the mucosal IgA response was associated with cessation of virus excretion in oral fluid samples of PRRS-unstable herds.
The above findings indicate that a peculiar profile of immune response to PRRSV can be found in PRRS-stable herds. Therefore, the outlined immune parameters can represent a useful readout system to evaluate successful adaptation to PRRSV based on acclimatization of breeding animals and management of pig flow.
Drigo M, Giacomini E, Lazzaro M, Pasotto D, Bilato D, Ruggeri J, Boniotti MB, Alborali GL, Amadori M; Comparative Evaluation of Immune Responses of Swine in PRRS-Stable and Unstable Herds; Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2018 Jun;200:32-39. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2018.04.007.