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Keywords:

  • porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus;
  • antigen-presenting cells;
  • T cells;
  • tonsil;
  • lymph nodes

Summary

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) can persist in different organs of infected pigs, which suggests a failure in the immune response. Antigen-presenting cells (APCs) play a pivotal role in the induction of effective T- and B-cell responses. In this study, we investigated the changes in the different APC subpopulations and T- and B-cell counts in the tonsil, retropharyngeal and mediastinal lymph nodes of pigs experimentally infected with a European PRRSV field isolate. Our results demonstrated that the expression of S100, SWC3, HLA-DR molecule and CD3 was diminished in the studied organs throughout the study, observing a significant negative correlation between viral antigen and HLA-DR expression in both retropharyngeal and mediastinal lymph nodes. In contrast, λ-light chains showed an increase during the study. Taking all into account, after PRRSV infection, no enhancement in the number of APCs and T cells was observed, suggesting an impairment of the immune function which may allow the persistence of PRRSV into the organism.