Immune modulation mechanisms of porcine circovirus type 2

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Virginia Tech


Porcine circovirus associated disease (PCVAD) is an umbrella term for a multitude of diseases and syndromes that have a negative impact on the health and economics of pig production operations throughout the world. Porcine circovirus type 2 is the causative agent of PCVAD; however the presence of PCV2 alone is rarely enough to cause clinical disease. In order for the full development of PCVAD the presence of a co-infecting pathogen is required. The mechanisms by which co-infection leads to disease remain ongoing areas of research, but it is thought that host immune modulations by PCV2 or a co-infecting pathogen are critical in the pathogenesis of PCVAD. In the first study of this dissertation the ability of PCV2 to induce regulatory T-cells (Tregs) and alter cytokine production was evaluated in vivo. The addition of PCV2 to a multiple viral challenge resulted in a significant increase in Tregs. Levels of IL-10 and IFN-γ were also found to be altered when PCV2 was added to a multiple viral challenge. In further experiments, monocyte derived dendritic cells (MoDC) were infected with different combinations and strains of PCV2 and PRRSV in vitro and evaluated for expression levels of programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1), IL-10, CD86, swine leukocyte antigen-1 (SLA-1), and swine leukocyte antigen-2 (SLA-2). Expression levels of PD-L1 were significantly increased in PCV2 and PRRSV co-infected MoDCs. SLA-1, SLA-2, and CD86 expression levels were significantly decreased in the MoDC treatment groups containing both PCV2 and virulent stains of PRRSV. MoDC IL-10 expression was significantly increased by PCV2 and virulent strains of PRRSV co-infection. Finally, we investigated the role of the PD-L1/programmed death ligand-1 (PD-1) axis in porcine lymphocyte anergy, apoptosis, and the induction of Tregs. Lymphocyte populations with normal PD-1 expression had significantly higher percentages of anergic and apoptotic lymphocytes, and CD4+CD25HighFoxP3+ Tregs when compared to a PD-1 deficient lymphocyte population. The findings from these studies indicate host immune modulation by PCV2 in vivo and the development of a regulatory phenotype of dendritic cell following PCV2/PRRSV co-infections in vitro that may contribute to a dysfunctional adaptive immune response and the overall pathogenesis of PCVAD.



porcine circovirus type 2, porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus, regulatory T cell, dendritic cell, programmed death ligand-1