Presence of porcine circovirus type 1 (PCV1) and PCV2 was studied in sera and superficial inguinal lymph nodes from postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS)-affected and non-PMWS-affected pigs by using in situ hybridization and PCR. PCV1 and PCV2 were found in less than 3% and more than 50% of the samples, respectively. The most sensitive technique and site was PCR in superficial inguinal lymph nodes, but in situ hybridization correlated better with presence of characteristic lesions.
Multiplex nested polymerase chain reactions (PCRs) were developed for the simultaneous detection and differentiation of genomic material of porcine circovirus 1 (PCV1), porcine circovirus 2 (PCV2), and porcine parvovirus (PPV) in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues. Multiplex conventional and nested PCR and in situ hybridization were compared for their ability to detect the 3 viruses in such tissues. Xylene deparaffinization followed by proteinase K digestion yielded DNA of sufficient quality for reliable and consistent PCR analyses. The DNA from PCV1, PCV2, and PPV was detected by both multiplex nested PCR and in situ hybridization in lymph-node tissue from 12 pigs experimentally co-infected with the 3 viruses, as well as in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded lymph-node tissue from 30 pigs with naturally occurring postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome; the agreement rates for the 2 methods were 100% in both groups of pigs. Thus, multiplex nested PCR could be applied successfully to formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues for simultaneous detection of these 3 porcine viruses.
A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was developed for detecting porcine circovirus (PCV). The assay readily detected type-2 PCV (PCV-2) and type-1 PCV (PCV-1). The PCR primers were designed based on DNA sequences conserved in all reported PCV genomes. Type 1 PCV and type 2 PCV both produced 438 bp amplification products, which were easily identified and differentiated from one another by restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis. Porcine circovirus was detected in 55% (931/1693) of randomly tested pigs with various clinical signs and lesions, most of which were difficult to differentiate from those associated with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS). The PCR products from all positive clinical samples were identified by RFLP to be only PCV-2; DNA tested by PCR was extracted directly from one or more of lung, mesenteric or mediastinal lymph nodes, and tonsil. Type 2 PCV was also detected in 6% (2/34) of DNA extracted directly from semen of randomly chosen healthy boars. Positive PCR reactions from 554 diseased pigs were characterized by RFLP and categorized into 5 different profiles (A-E), of which 82.8% were PCV-2A (456/554), 3.0% were PCV-2B (17/554), 9.9% were PCV-2C (55/554), 1.1% were PCV-2D (6/554), and 3.2% were PCV-2E (18/554). The complete genomic nucleotide sequences of PCV-2A, B, C, D, and E were determined and found to have at least 95% homology compared with one another and with all other PCV-2 found in the GenBank database. All PCV-2 had less than 76% homology with PCV-1. This PCR assay will hopefully be useful to veterinary diagnostic laboratories for routine testing and surveillance of infection with PCV-2. The RFLP profiling system might be useful for preliminary characterization and identification of PCV isolates and might also benefit studies on the molecular epidemiology of PCV.
Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) is an economically important pathogen. It has been demonstrated that PCV2 DNA can be detected in boar semen by PCR; however, the biological relevance of this is unknown. The objectives of this study were to determine if semen positive for PCV2 DNA is infectious (1) in a swine bioassay, or (2) when used for artificial insemination. For the first objective, 4-week-old pigs were inoculated intraperitoneally with PCV2 DNA-negative (bioassay-control; n = 3), PCV2a DNA-positive (bioassay-PCV2a; n = 3), or PCV2b DNA-positive (bioassay-PCV2b; n = 3) raw semen, or PCV2 live virus (bioassay-positive; n = 3), respectively. Pigs inoculated with PCV2 DNA-positive semen and PCV2 live virus became viremic and developed anti-PCV2 antibodies indicating that the PCV2 DNA present in semen was infectious. For the second objective, three Landrace gilts were inseminated with PCV2 DNA-negative semen (gilts-controls) from experimentally-infected boars, and six gilts were artificially inseminated with semen positive for PCV2a DNA (gilts-PCV2a; n = 3) or PCV2b DNA (gilts-PCV2b; n = 3). Serum samples collected from the gilts in all groups remained negative for anti-PCV2 antibodies for the duration of the experiment. In addition, fetal serum samples from all 105-day-gestation fetuses were negative for anti-PCV2 antibodies or PCV2 DNA. Under the conditions of this study, PCV2 DNA-positive semen was not infectious when used to artificially inseminate gilts; however, it was demonstrated to be infectious in a swine bioassay model and therefore is a potential means of PCV2 transmission amongst swine herds.
artificial insemination; bioassay; boar; PCV2; semen
Distribution and characterization of interlukin-10 (IL-10)-secreting cells in lymphoid tissues of pigs naturally infected with porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) were evaluated in accordance with PCV2 antigen detection. After screening a total of 56 pigs showing the symptoms of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS), 15 pigs were PCV2 positive and 5 pigs, which showed stronger positive signals over multiples tissues were further investigated. This study showed that in PCV2-infected lymphoid tissues, particularly mandibular lymph node, spleen and tonsil, IL-10 expression was mainly localized in T-cell rich areas but rarely in B cell rich areas. IL-10 was highly expressed in bystander cells but rarely in PCV2-infected cells. Elevated IL-10 expression was predominantly associated with T cells, but rarely with B cells or with macrophages. The results of this study provide evidence for the role of IL-10 in chronic PCV2 infection and its relation to PCV2 antigen in affected tissues. Constantly elevated levels of IL-10 lead to immunosuppression in persistent and chronic viral infections. The increased IL-10 expression observed in PCV2 infection in this study suggests that IL-10-mediated immunosuppression may play an important role in the pathogenesis and maintenance of naturally occurring PCV2 infection.
B-cells; immunohistochemistry; interlukin-10; porcine circovirus type 2; T-cells
The objective of the present study was to determine the effects of porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) vaccinations in an experimental PCV2-PRRSV challenge model, based on virological (viremia), immunological (neutralizing antibodies [NAs], gamma interferon-secreting cells [IFN-γ-SCs], and CD4+ CD8+ double-positive cells), and pathological (lesions and antigens in lymph nodes and lungs) evaluations. A total of 72 pigs were randomly divided into 9 groups (8 pigs per group): 5 vaccinated and challenged groups, 3 nonvaccinated and challenged groups, and a negative-control group. Vaccination against PCV2 induced immunological responses (NAs and PCV2-specific IFN-γ-SCs) and reduced PCV2 viremia, PCV2-induced lesions, and PCV2 antigens in the dually infected pigs. However, vaccination against PCV2 did not affect the PRRSV immunological responses (NAs and PRRSV-specific IFN-γ-SCs), PRRSV viremia, PRRSV-induced lesions, or PRRSV antigens in the dually infected pigs. Vaccination against PRRSV did not induce immunological responses (PRRSV-specific IFN-γ-SCs) or reduce PRRSV viremia, PRRSV-induced lesions, or PRRSV antigens in the dually infected pigs. In addition, vaccination against PRRSV increased PCV2 viremia, PCV2-induced lesions, and PCV2 antigens in the dually infected pigs. In summary, vaccination against PCV2 reduced PCV2 viremia, PCV2-induced lesions, and PCV2 antigens in the dually infected pigs. However, vaccination against PRRSV increased PCV2 viremia, PCV2-induced lesions, and PCV2 antigens in the dually infected pigs. Therefore, the PCV2 vaccine decreased the potentiation of PCV2-induced lesions by PRRSV in dually infected pigs. In contrast, the PRRSV vaccine alone did not decrease the potentiation of PCV2-induced lesions by PRRSV in dually infected pigs.
This study investigated if parenteral administration of a prototype adjuvanted vaccine against porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) could override maternally derived antibodies and induce acquired immunity in young piglets. Piglets with high levels of maternal PCV2 antibodies at 1 wk of age were randomly grouped into vaccinates and controls on the basis of body weight and inoculated with the vaccine or a control preparation twice, with an interval of 3 wk. Both groups were challenged 3 wk after the booster vaccination and euthanized 3 wk after challenge. The pigs were evaluated for clinical disease, histologic lesions in sections of gastric and left inguinal lymph nodes stained with hematoxylin and eosin, and the amount of PCV2 antigen in the lymph nodes by immunohistochemical study. The PCV2 antibody titers were monitored by competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay throughout the experiment. The vaccinates showed significantly less decline (P < 0.05) in PCV2 antibody titers after the booster vaccination. Clinical disease did not develop in any of the piglets. The vaccinates and controls did not differ in either histologic lesions or amount of PCV2 antigen in the lymph nodes. This study demonstrated some evidence of priming of young piglets in the presence of maternal antibodies. Further studies are recommended to determine the optimum concentration of PCV2 antigen and a suitable adjuvant for the vaccine to achieve the full potential of the strategy of inducing acquired immunity in young piglets that have maternally derived antibodies.
Postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) is an emerging disease in swine. Increasing evidence indicates that a variant strain of porcine circovirus (PCV), designated type 2 PCV (PCV-2), is responsible for PMWS. To determine the extent of genetic heterogeneity of PCV-2 isolates, the complete genomes of six PCV-2 isolates from different regions of North America were amplified by PCR and sequenced. Sequence and phylogenetic analyses confirmed that two distinct genotypes of PCV exist: nonpathogenic genotype PCV-1 and PMWS-associated genotype PCV-2. However, within the PCV-2 genotype, several minor branches that have been identified appear to be associated with geographic origins. The genomic sequences of two French PCV-2 isolates diverge the most from those of other PCV-2 isolates and form a distinct branch. Other minor but distinguishable branches have also been identified for a Taiwan PCV-2 isolate and two of the Canadian PCV-2 isolates. All the U.S. PCV-2 isolates are closely related, but the Canadian isolates vary, to some extent, in their genomic sequences. The data from this study indicate that although the genome of PCV-2 is generally stable among different isolates, PCV-2 isolates from different geographic regions vary in their genomic sequences. This variation may have important implications for PCV-2 diagnosis and research. On the basis of genetic analyses of available PCV strains, a universal PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) assay was developed to detect and differentiate between infections with PCV-1 and PCV-2. This PCR-RFLP assay should be useful for studying the pathogenesis of PCV-2, for detecting PCV-2 infection in pigs from different geographic regions, and for screening donor pigs for use in xenotransplantation.
Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) is closely related to the postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS). In this study, the pig serum and tissue samples collected from different regions of Hangzhou District in Zhejiang Province of China between 2003 and 2005 were analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for PCV2 antibody and by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for ORF2 gene. The results show that out of 1250 randomly collected serum samples, 500 sera (40%) were seropositive for PCV2. PCR results demonstrate that Hangzhou PCV2 with more than 50% Chinese PCV2 strains and French PCV2 formed Cluster A. Only one PCV2 from Hangzhou belonged to Cluster B with some other Chinese PCV2 and Netherlands’s isolates. Cluster C consisted of PCV2 isolates from China, US, Canada, UK and Germany. The results indicate that the PCV2 infection was widespread in Hangzhou.
Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2); Seroprevalence; ORF2; Phylogenetic analysis
Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2), the causative agent of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS), is a serious economic problem for the swine industry in China. In this study, we investigated the genetic variation of PCV2 in China using strains isolated from 2004-2008. Viruses were isolated from samples collected from pigs with multi-systemic lesions and clinical signs of PMWS from different regions of China, and the genomes of these viruses were sequenced. The assembled sequences were used to define the genotypes of these strains; PCR-RFLP methodology was used to distinguish isolates and capture ELISA was used to demonstrate the antigenic changes resulted from ORF2 gene mutation of the isolates.
We identified 19 PCV2 isolates, including four newly emerging PCV2 mutant strains. The 19 isolates were designated into three genotypes (PCV2a, PCV2b and PCV2d). PCV2d represented a novel genotype and a shift from PCV2a to PCV2b as the predominant genotype in China was identified. This is the first report of 1766 nt PCV2 harboring a base deletion at other new different positions. Amino acid sequence analysis identified two novel ORF2 mutations (resulting in ORF2 sequences 705 and 708 nt in length) in three deletion strains (1766 nt) and one strain with a genome 1767 nt in length. Finding of two amino acids elongation of the ORF2-encoded Cap protein is firstly observed among PCV2 strains all over the world. The isolates were distinguished into different genotypes by PCR-RFLP methodology and antigenic changes were present in Cap protein of mutation isolates by capture ELISA.
The results of this study provide evidence that PCV2 is undergoing constant genetic variation and that the predominant strain in China as well as the antigenic situation has changed in recent years. Furthermore, the PCR-RFLP method presented here may be useful for the differential identification of PCV2 strains in future studies.
An experimental study was conducted to evaluate the potential presence of porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) in the semen of infected boars. Four mature boars were inoculated intranasally with PCV2 isolate LHVA-V53 propagated on PK15 cells. Two boars inoculated with the supernatant of noninfected PK15 cells were kept as controls. Serum samples were collected from all boars at 4, 7, 11, 13, 18, 21, 25, 28, 35, and 55 days postinoculation (dpi) and from the four PCV2-infected boars at 90 dpi. Samples were tested for the presence of antibodies to PCV2 by an indirect immunofluorescence assay and for the presence of PCV2 DNA by PCR and nested PCR. Semen samples were collected from all six boars at 5, 8, 11, 13, 18, 21, 25, 28, 33, and 47 dpi and tested for the presence of PCV2 DNA by a nested PCR assay. Antibodies to PCV2 could be detected as early as 11 dpi in one boar, and all four infected boars were found positive for PCV2 antibodies by 18 dpi. Thereafter all infected boars remained positive for antibodies to PCV2 until 90 dpi. Analysis of serum samples by nested PCR demonstrated the presence of PCV2 DNA as early as 4 dpi in three of four infected boars. Serum samples from all infected boars were positive for PCV2 DNA from 11 dpi until 35 dpi but were negative at 90 dpi. PCV2 DNA was detected as soon as 5 dpi in the semen of two infected boars and intermittently thereafter in the semen of all four infected boars. The semen of two infected boars was positive for PCV2 DNA at 47 dpi. Following infection, PCV2 DNA can be detected in semen concurrently with the presence of PCV2 DNA and antibodies in the serum. The present study suggests that PCV2 may be shed intermittently in the semen of infected boars.
Chromogenic in situ hybridization (ISH) is a commonly used tool in diagnostic pathology to detect pathogens in formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue sections. Prolonged formalin fixation time was identified to be a limiting factor for the successful detection of nucleic acid from different pathogens, most probably due to the cross-linking activity of formalin between RNA, DNA, and proteins. Therefore, in the current study, the influence of formalin fixation time on ISH signal intensity of 2 viral (Porcine circovirus-2 [PCV-2], Porcine respiratory and reproductive virus [PRRSV]) and 2 protozoal agents (Cryptosporidium serpentis and Tritrichomonas sp.) was evaluated. Tissue samples were fixed in 7% neutral buffered formaldehyde solution, and at defined intervals, pieces were embedded in paraffin wax and subjected to pathogen-specific ISH. For all 4 pathogens, the signal intensity remained comparable to the starting ISH signal for different periods of fixation (PCV-2: 6 weeks, PRRSV: 23 weeks, Cryptosporidium serpentis: 55 weeks, Tritrichomonas sp.: 53 weeks). Thereafter, the signal started to decline until loss of nucleic acid detection. The influence of increased proteinase K concentrations for inverting the formalin-induced cross-linking activity was examined compared to the standard protocol. With all 4 infectious agents, a 4-fold proteinase K concentration restored the ISH signals to a level comparable to 1 day of fixation. In conclusion, the influence of prolonged formalin fixation on the intensity of detected ISH signal highly depends on the analyzed infectious agent and the pretreatment protocol.
Infectious agents; in situ hybridization; prolonged formalin fixation time
A competitive PCR (cPCR) assay was developed for monitoring porcine circovirus (PCV) DNA in serum samples from piglets. The cPCR was based on competitive coamplification of a 502- or 506-bp region of the PCV type 1 (PCV1) or PCV2 ORF2, respectively, with a known concentration of competitor DNA, which produced a 761- or 765-bp fragment, respectively. The cPCR was validated by quantification of a known amount of PCV wild-type plasmids. We also used this technique to determine PCV genome copy numbers in infected cells. Furthermore, we measured PCV DNA loads in clinical samples. More than 50% of clinically healthy piglets could harbor both types of PCV. While PCV1 was detected in only 3 of 16 pigs with postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS), all the sick piglets contained PCV2. A comparison of the PCV2 DNA loads of healthy and sick animals revealed a significant difference, indicating that the development of PMWS may require a certain amount of PCV2.
Since late 2004, the swine industry in the province of Quebec has experienced a significant increase in death rate related to postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS). To explain this phenomenon, 2 hypotheses were formulated: 1) the presence of a 2nd pathogen could be exacerbating the porcine circovirus 2 (PCV-2) infection, or 2) a new and more virulent PCV-2 strain could be infecting swine. In 2005, 13 PMWS cases were submitted to the Quebec provincial diagnostic laboratory and PCV-2 was the only virus that could be found consistently by PCR in all 13 samples. The PCR detection results obtained for other viruses revealed the following: 61.5% were positive for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, 30.8% for swine influenza virus, 15.4% for porcine parvovirus, 69.2% for swine torque teno virus (swTTV), 38.5% for swine hepatitis E virus (swHEV) and 84.6% for Mycoplasma hyorhinis; transmissible gastroenteritis virus and porcine respiratory coronavirus (TGEV/PRCV) was not detected. Sequences of the entire genome revealed that these PCV-2 strains belonged to a genotype (named PCV-2b) that has never been reported in Canada. Further sequence analyses on 83 other Canadian PCV-2 positive cases submitted to the provincial diagnostic laboratory during years 2005 and 2006 showed that 79.5% of the viral sequences obtained clustered in the PCV-2b genotype. The appearance of the PCV-2b genotype in Canada may explain the death rate increase related to PMWS, but this relationship has to be confirmed.
A retrospective serological survey was performed to determine the presence of antibodies to porcine circovirus type 1 (PCV1) and porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) in serum samples collected from sows at slaughterhouses in Canada in 1985, 1989, and 1997. Each serum sample was tested by indirect immunofluorescence on PCV-free PK15 cells, on PCV1-infected PK15 cells and on PCV2-infected PK15 cells. For the 3 years studied, sera positive to PCV1 and PCV2 were identified and the number of sera positive for PCV2 was greater than the number of sera positive for PCV1. The results indicated 1) that PCV2 appears to be the main PCV type circulating in the Canadian pig population, 2) that PCV2 had been circulating in the Canadian pig population at least 10 years before the postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) was reported, and 3) that serological evaluation using PCV1 underestimates the seroprevalence of PCV2.
A comparative serologic and virologic study was performed in pigs from 5 herds with postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) and 2 herds without PMWS in Quebec. In each herd, 60 blood samples were collected at 4-wk intervals from pigs from 3 to 23 wk of age. The serum was evaluated for the presence of antibodies to porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), as well as for the presence of nucleic acid of PCV2, PRRSV, and porcine parvovirus (PPV), by means of the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Serologic profiles for PCV2 were very similar in 6 of the 7 herds, including the 2 without PMWS, and were characterized by a gradual decrease in antibody titres from 3 until 11 wk of age, followed by seroconversion at 15 wk, and high PCV2 antibody titres thereafter in all pigs. Only starting at 11 to 15 wk of age could PCV2 viremia be detected, except in 1 herd, in which clinical signs were observed at 6 to 7 wk of age. A PCV2 viremia could be detected within the same pigs for a minimum of 8 wk, and the virus could still be detected in 41% of the serum samples obtained at 23 wk of age. The antibody level did not appear to influence the occurrence of disease, since titres were similar in pigs in the herds with or without PMWS. Infection with PRRSV, as demonstrated by PCR and seroconversion, preceded that of PCV2 by at least 1 mo in both types of herd. Both PRRSV and PCV2 were detected in some pigs in 5 of the 7 herds, including 1 herd without PMWS. Porcine parvovirus could be detected in serum by PCR in 2 herds with PMWS after the onset of clinical signs and also in 1 herd without PMWS. Genomic analysis of PCV2 strains identified in the herds without PMWS indicated complete or very high homology (99.4% to 100%) with the PCV2 strains identified in 4 herds with PMWS. In our field study, the triggering of PMWS in the herds could not be linked to coinfection with either PRRSV or PPV or to the use of a specific immunostimulant, such as vaccines, or to particular genomic differences between the PCV2 strains identified.
The entire genomes of 7 isolates of porcine circovirus (PCV) from pigs with congenital tremors (CT), type A2, or postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) were cloned and sequenced. One isolate (CT-PCV-P7) originated from the late 1960s from a neonatal pig with CT, type A2. Two recent PCV isolates (CT-PCV-P5, CT-PCV-P6) were from 2 affected neonatal pigs, from different farms, with unrelated outbreaks of CT; type A2. Four isolates (PMWS-PCV-P1, PMWS-PCV-P2, PMWS-PCV-P3, PMWS-PCV-P4) originated from pigs with PMWS from 4 different farms. A comparative analysis of these PMWS and PCV isolates demonstrated 99% sequence identity with each other, and over 96% sequence identity with previously sequenced PCV2 isolates. The CT-PCV-P5 and CT-PCV-P6 isolates, however, shared 99% of the same identity with each other, and interestingly also with PMWS PCV isolates. There were no consistent genomic differences between PMWS and recent CT isolates. The CT-PCV-P7 showed 98% identity similarity to PK-15-derived PCV1 and demonstrated only 72% identity similarity to either CT-PCV-P5 or CT-PCV-P6. Phylogenetic analysis confirmed that the old isolate (CT-PCV-P7), and the new isolates (CT-PCV-P5, CT-PCV-P6, PMWS-PCV-P1, PMWS-PCV-P2, PMWS-PCV-P3, PMWS-PCV-P4) were correctly classified as PCV1 and PCV2, respectively.
A novel porcine pathogen tentatively named P1, which was obtained from the sera of the pigs exhibiting clinical signs of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) experimentally caused the classical clinic signs and pathologic lesions of the disease in pigs by direct in vivo injection with P1 DNA plasmids. Twenty colostrum-fed (CF) pigs that were free of PCV2 and P1 at 1 month of age were randomly designated equally to two groups. Group 1 pigs were each injected with 400 µg of the cloned P1 plasmid DNA into the superficial inguinal lymph nodes and Group 2 were injected with same amount of the empty pSK vector DNA and served as controls. Viremias were positively detected in 8 of 10 P1 infected pigs from 14–21 days post-inoculation (dpi). The 8 infected animals showed pallor of skin and diarrhea. Gross lesions in the pigs euthanized on 35 dpi were similarly characterized by encephalemia, haemorrhage of the bladder mucosa, haemorrhage of the superficial inguinal lymph nodes, lung atrophy and haemorrhage. Histopathological lesions were arteriectasis and telangiectasia of the cavitas subarachnoidealis, interstitial pneumonia, mild atrophy of the cardiac muscle cells, histiocytic hyperplasia of the follicles in the tonsils, and haemorrhage of the inguinal lymph nodes. P1 DNA and antigens were confirmed by PCR and immunohistochemistry in the tissues and organs of the infected pigs, including the pancreas, bladders, testicles/ovaries, brains, lungs and liver. There were no obvious clinical signs and pathological lesions in the control pigs. This study demonstrated that P1 infection is one of the important pathologic agents on pig farms.
A member of the family Circoviridae, porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2), is associated with postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS), a recent emerging disease worldwide. PCV2 is also found in clinically asymptomatic animals. This paradoxical finding makes the syndrome etiology challenging. We developed new assays to study PCV2 with links to syndrome etiology. For analysis, we used PCV2-infected tissues from subclinically infected and diseased piglets. We compared antigen- and PCV2 DNA-derived signals for tissue localization and intensity. Oligonucleotides were designed to the signature motif of the PCV2 capsid open reading frame to discriminate experimentally between PCV2 genotype groups by PCR, in situ hybridization (ISH), and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). Unexpectedly, all PCV2-infected animals carried both PCV2a and PCV2b genotype group members. Using confocal microscopy, genotype single-cell infections and cell superinfections were visible. Additionally, we discriminated replicative DNA from total PCV2 DNA isoforms with FISH. This aided in our inquiry into cellular genotype-specific replication. Importantly, single-genotype-group replication was not observed. In infected cells with replicating virus, both genotype groups were equally present. These findings suggest PCV2 genotype group members relaxed replication regulation requirements and may even point to PCV2 replication cooperativity in vivo. These observations explain the readily seen PCV2 DNA recombinations and the high overall PCV2 genome plasticity. Hence, we suggest a novel mechanism of syndrome etiology that consists of a continuously changing PCV2 genome pool in hosts and pig herds, posing a constant challenge to the individual maturing immune system.
Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) is the primary causative agent of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS), whereas the ubiquitous porcine circovirus type 1 (PCV1) is nonpathogenic for pigs. We report here the construction and characterization of two chimeric infectious DNA clones of PCV1 and PCV2. The chimeric PCV1-2 clone contains the PCV2 capsid gene cloned in the backbone of the nonpathogenic PCV1 genome. A reciprocal chimeric PCV2-1 DNA clone was also constructed by replacing the PCV2 capsid gene with that of PCV1 in the backbone of the PCV2 genome. The PCV1, PCV2, and chimeric PCV1-2 and PCV2-1 DNA clones were all shown to be infectious in PK-15 cells, and their growth characteristics in vitro were determined and compared. To evaluate the immunogenicity and pathogenicity of the chimeric infectious DNA clones, 40 specific-pathogen-free (SPF) pigs were randomly assigned into five groups of eight pigs each. Group 1 pigs received phosphate-buffered saline as the negative control. Group 2 pigs were each injected in the superficial inguinal lymph nodes with 200 μg of the PCV1 infectious DNA clone. Group 3 pigs were each similarly injected with 200 μg of the PCV2 infectious DNA clone, group 4 pigs were each injected with 200 μg of the chimeric PCV1-2 infectious DNA clone, and group 5 pigs were each injected with 200 μg of the reciprocal chimeric PCV2-1 infectious DNA clone. As expected, seroconversion to antibodies to the PCV2 capsid antigen was detected in group 3 and group 4 pigs. Group 2 and 5 pigs all seroconverted to PCV1 antibody. Gross and microscopic lesions in various tissues of animals inoculated with the PCV2 infectious DNA clone were significantly more severe than those found in pigs inoculated with PCV1, chimeric PCV1-2, and reciprocal chimeric PCV2-1 infectious DNA clones. These data indicated that the chimeric PCV1-2 virus with the immunogenic ORF2 capsid gene of pathogenic PCV2 cloned into the nonpathogenic PCV1 genomic backbone induces a specific antibody response to the pathogenic PCV2 capsid antigen but is attenuated in pigs. Future studies are warranted to evaluate the usefulness of the chimeric PCV1-2 infectious DNA clone as a genetically engineered live-attenuated vaccine against PCV2 infection and PMWS.
Forty-one 8- to 12-week-old wasted pigs were selected from several conventional farms with histories of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) and classified into two groups according to their porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) infection status, as determined by in situ hybridization (ISH). Twenty-four pigs tested positive for PCV2 (PCV2-positive group), while 17 pigs tested negative for PCV2 (PCV2-negative group). In addition, eight uninfected healthy pigs from an experimental farm were used as controls. Heparinized blood samples were taken to obtain peripheral blood mononuclear cells. The CD4+, CD8+, CD4+ CD8+ (double-positive [DP]), and immunoglobulin M-positive (IgM+) cell subsets were analyzed by flow cytometry with appropriate monoclonal antibodies. Histopathological studies were done to evaluate the apparent degrees of lymphocyte depletion in different lymphoid organs (superficial inguinal and mesenteric lymph nodes, Peyer's patches, tonsils, and spleen) and to determine the viral load of the PCV2 genome by using an ISH technique. Animals of the PCV2-positive group showed a significant downshift of the CD8+ and DP cell subsets compared to the other groups (P < 0.05). Moreover, in PCV2-positive pigs, the amount of PCV2 genome in lymphoid tissues was related to the degree of cell depletion in those tissues (P < 0.05) as well as to the relative decrease in IgM+ and CD8+ cells in peripheral blood. These data support the notion that PCV2-positive pigs might have an impaired immune response.
Postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) is considered a multifactorial emerging disease of which Porcine circovirus-2 (PCV-2) is the necessary infectious cause. However, retrospective studies have shown that PMWS is not a new disease and that PCV-2 has been circulating in pig farms for years. Most of these studies were performed in Europe and Asia; only a few were performed in North or South America.
A PCV-2 retrospective serological survey was carried out with 659 serum samples collected from pigs in Mexico between 1972 and 2000. Serological analyses were performed with an immunoperoxidase monolayer assay (IPMA). The overall prevalence of PCV-2 antibodies was 59% (387/659); the prevalence was 27% (24/90) for the period from 1972–1979; 44% (74/169) from 1980–1989, and 72% (289/400) from 1990–2000. Antibodies to PCV-2 were detected in at least 1 pig from all tested years since 1973. This study shows evidence of enzootic PCV-2 infection in Mexico for many years before the first description of PMWS in the country (in 2001), further supporting results obtained in other parts of the world. To date, this study provides the earliest evidence of PCV-2 infection in the North and South American continents.
We evaluated the effects of immunostimulation in the development of postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) in 930 pigs 53 to 54 d old in a grower/finisher barn with a history of PMWS. The pigs were allocated to 5 treatment groups: 4 groups received a single intramuscular injection of RespiSure-ONE (a commercial Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae vaccine; n = 197), Emulsigen (an oil-based adjuvant; n = 172), Alhydrogel (an aluminum-hydroxide-based adjuvant; n = 172), or physiologic saline (n = 218); 1 group received no treatment (n = 171). Pigs affected by PMWS were found in all the groups. Antigen to Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV-2) was detected by immunohistochemical testing within lesions of mesenteric lymph node, spleen, Peyer’s patch, and lung of affected pigs. There was no significant difference in the incidence of PMWS among the groups. The findings indicate that immunostimulation did not influence the expression of PMWS in this study. Thus, routine vaccination against swine diseases may not significantly contribute to the occurrence of PMWS under field conditions.
Nineteen pigs with clinical signs of porcine circovirus associated diseases (PCVAD) on 5 Alberta pig farms were examined pathologically, including gross pathology, histopathology, and immunohistochemistry. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for porcine circovirus type-2 (PCV-2) and sequence analysis was performed on tissue samples of 12 animals. Results showed that new strains of porcine circovirus type-2 genogroup b were present in most pigs that were positive for PCV-2. Furthermore, a mixed infection with PCV-2a and PCV-2b occurred in the liver and lungs of 1 pig. Comparison of whole genome sequences representing known viruses and the newly discovered Alberta viruses revealed mutations distributed over the entire genome of PCV-2; however, sequences encoding for immunodominant epitopes of PCV-2 appear to be unaffected by these mutations.
Post-weaning multi-systemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) is a multi-factorial disease with major economic implications for the pig industry worldwide. The present study aimed to assess the economic impact of PMWS and porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) subclinical infections (PCV2SI) for farrow-to-finish farms and to estimate the resulting cost to the English pig industry.
A disease model was built to simulate the varying proportions of pigs in a batch that get infected with PCV2 and develop either PMWS, subclinical disease (reduce growth without evident clinical signs) or remain healthy (normal growth and no clinical signs), depending on the farm level PMWS severity. This PMWS severity measure accounted for the level of post-weaning mortality, PMWS morbidity and proportion of PCV2 infected pigs observed on farms. The model generated six outcomes: infected pigs with PMWS that die (PMWS-D); infected pigs with PMWS that recover (PMWS-R); subclinical pigs that die (Sub-D); subclinical pigs that reach slaughter age (Sub-S); healthy pigs sold (H-S); and pigs, infected or non-infected by PCV2, that die due to non-PCV2 related causes (nonPCV2-D). Enterprise and partial budget analyses were used to assess the deficit/profits and the extra costs/extra benefits of a change in disease status, respectively. Results from the economic analysis at pig level were combined with the disease model's estimates of the proportion of different pigs produced at different severity scores to assess the cost of PMWS and subclinical disease at farm level, and these were then extrapolated to estimate costs at national level.
The net profit for a H-S pig was £19.2. The mean loss for a PMWS-D pig was £84.1 (90% CI: 79.6–89.1), £24.5 (90% CI: 15.1–35.4) for a PMWS-R pig, £82.3 (90% CI: 78.1–87.5) for a Sub-D pig, and £8.1 (90% CI: 2.18–15.1) for a Sub-S pig. At farm level, the greatest proportion of negative economic impact was attributed to PCV2 subclinical pigs. The economic impact for the English pig industry for the year 2008, prior to the introduction of PCV2 vaccines, was estimated at £52.6 million per year (90% CI: 34.7–72.0), and approximately £88 million per year during the epidemic period.
This was the first study to use empirical data to model the cost of PMWS/PCV2SI at different farm severity levels. Results from this model will be used to assess the efficiency of different control measures and to provide a decision support tool to farmers and policy makers.
Post-weaning multi-systemic wasting syndrome; Porcine Circovirus type 2 subclinical infection; Enterprise budget analysis; Partial budget analysis; Stochastic economic model