Three pigs with unexplained cardiac and multi-organ inflammation that tested negative for PCV2 and other known porcine pathogens were further analyzed.
Histology was used to identify microscopic lesions in multiple tissues. Metagenomics was used to detect viral sequences in tissue homogenates. In situ hybridization was used to detect viral RNA expression in cardiac tissue.
In all three cases we characterized the genome of a new circovirus we called PCV3 with a replicase and capsid proteins showing 55 and 35 % identities to the genetically-closest proteins from a bat-feces associated circovirus and were even more distant to those of porcine circovirus 1 and 2. Common microscopic lesions included non-suppurative myocarditis and/or cardiac arteriolitis. Viral mRNA was detected intralesionally in cardiac cells. Deep sequencing in tissues also revealed the presence of porcine astrovirus 4 in all three animals as well as rotavirus A, porcine cytomegalovirus and porcine hemagglutinating encephalomyelitis virus in individual cases.
The pathogenicity and molecular epidemiology of this new circovirus, alone or in the context of co-infections, warrants further investigations.
Tung Gia Phan, Federico Giannitti, Stephanie Rossow, Douglas Marthaler, Todd Knutson, Linlin Li, Xutao Deng, Talita Resende, Fabio Vannucci, and Eric Delwart. Detection of a novel circovirus PCV3 in pigs with cardiac and multi-systemic inflammation. Virol J. 2016; 13: 184. Published online 2016 Nov 11. doi: 10.1186/s12985-016-0642-z