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Correlation of cell-mediated immunity against porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus with protection against reproductive failure in sows during outbreaks of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome in commercial herds

James F. Lowe DVM, MS1,2, Robert Husmann DVM, MS3, Lawrence D. Firkins DVM, MS, MBA4, Federico A. Zuckermann DVM, PhD5, and Tony L. Goldberg PhD, DVM6
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  • 1 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.
  • | 2 Present address is The Maschhoffs Inc, 7475 State Rte 127, Carlyle, IL 62321.
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.
  • | 4 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.
  • | 5 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.
  • | 6 Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61802.

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether cell-mediated immunity against porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus is correlated with protection against reproductive failure in sows during clinical outbreaks of PRRS in commercial herds.

Design—Outbreak investigation in 4 swine breeding herds.

Animals—97 sows.

Procedures—On each farm, blood samples were collected from sows with clinical signs (abortion or increased fetal death; case sows) and from clinically normal sows (control sows). The intensity of the cell-mediated immune (CMI) response was determined by use of an interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay. Multiple logistic regression analyses and t tests were used to compare ELISPOT assay values between case and control sows. Multiple linear regression was used to investigate associations between cell-mediated immunity and the magnitude of clinical signs.

Results—In 2 farms, case sows had lower ELISPOT assay values than control sows. A negative association between the intensity of the CMI response and the number of pigs born dead per litter was detected on 1 farm. In 1 farm, no association was detected between the intensity of the CMI response and protection against reproductive failure.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Evidence that a strong CMI response was correlated with protection against clinical PRRS was detected in 3 of 4 farms. However, farms and sows within farms varied considerably in their immune responsiveness and in the degree to which they were protected clinically. Increasing cell-mediated immunity within infected herds has the potential to decrease clinical reproductive disease, but only if the sources of intra- and interfarm variation in the intensity of cell-mediated immunity to PRRS virus can be identified. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226:1707–1711)

Abstract

Objective—To determine whether cell-mediated immunity against porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus is correlated with protection against reproductive failure in sows during clinical outbreaks of PRRS in commercial herds.

Design—Outbreak investigation in 4 swine breeding herds.

Animals—97 sows.

Procedures—On each farm, blood samples were collected from sows with clinical signs (abortion or increased fetal death; case sows) and from clinically normal sows (control sows). The intensity of the cell-mediated immune (CMI) response was determined by use of an interferon-γ enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay. Multiple logistic regression analyses and t tests were used to compare ELISPOT assay values between case and control sows. Multiple linear regression was used to investigate associations between cell-mediated immunity and the magnitude of clinical signs.

Results—In 2 farms, case sows had lower ELISPOT assay values than control sows. A negative association between the intensity of the CMI response and the number of pigs born dead per litter was detected on 1 farm. In 1 farm, no association was detected between the intensity of the CMI response and protection against reproductive failure.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Evidence that a strong CMI response was correlated with protection against clinical PRRS was detected in 3 of 4 farms. However, farms and sows within farms varied considerably in their immune responsiveness and in the degree to which they were protected clinically. Increasing cell-mediated immunity within infected herds has the potential to decrease clinical reproductive disease, but only if the sources of intra- and interfarm variation in the intensity of cell-mediated immunity to PRRS virus can be identified. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2005;226:1707–1711)