Cytokine profiles in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and lymph node cells from piglets infected in utero with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus
Tomography, X-Ray Computed
The aim of the present study was to investigate at 2, 4, and 6 weeks after birth cytokine expression by peripheral blood mononuclear cells and bronchial lymph node cells from piglets infected in utero with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV). Technically, by flow cytometry we were able to measure gamma interferon (gamma-IFN), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-4 (IL-4), and IL-8 levels. In general, we found increases in the percentages of IL-4-, gamma-IFN-, and TNF-alpha-producing lymphocytes in the infected piglets compared to the percentages in the uninfected control animals, while there was a decrease in the percentage of IL-8-producing monocytes. We believe that these findings reflect a general lymphocyte activation stage that is created due to the infection and that occurs in combination with impairment of the monocyte function, possibly due to the ongoing viral replication in these cells. Single-cell bronchial lymph node preparations exhibited very much the same cytokine profiles as peripheral blood mononuclear cells except for a lack of IL-8 production. When the levels of the individual cytokines in the three groups of PRRSV-infected piglets were compared, the levels of cytokine expression at 4 weeks diverged from those at 2 and 6 weeks, in that there was a significant decrease in the numbers of lymphocytes producing gamma-IFN and TNF-alpha. This tendency was also observed among blood monocytes and lymph node macrophages. Possible reasons for this temporary immunosuppression in the piglets at 4 weeks are discussed.