The notion that postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS)-affected pigs develop an impaired humoral response against porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) has been reported in several studies. However, little information is available regarding the presence of neutralizing antibodies (NA) in PCV2-infected pigs and their role in the pathogenesis of the disease. The aim of the present work was to further characterize the humoral response, and in particular the production of NA, in pigs with different PCV2-infection status. Seventy-two conventional pigs from different farms were classified into three groups based on PCV2 infection and clinico-pathological status, namely: PCV2-negative, non-PMWS PCV2-positive and PMWS-affected animals. In addition, 9-week old pigs from an experimental infection (6 controls and 14 PCV2-inoculated pigs) were also studied. NA and total PCV2 antibodies (TA) as well as viral load in serum were determined and correlated with the clinico-pathological status of pigs. Results indicated that PMWS-affected pigs had lower NA titres, if any, than healthy animals. NA titres were also inversely correlated with PCV2 load in serum. NA and TA titres were positively correlated; however, correlation differed among infection status, being lower in PCV2-positive pigs. Also, the diagnostic performance of each test was evaluated, indicating that the combination of viral neutralization and quantitative PCR in serum was useful to discard PMWS (specificity 92%). In experimentally infected animals, the evolution of NA paralleled the course TA, although a slight delay in NA production was seen in some animals. The increase of NA coincided with the drop in viral load. Results from this work further support that PMWS-affected pigs show an impaired humoral immune response and, particularly, an inefficient NA response against PCV2. © 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- Neutralizing antibodies
- Porcine circovirus type 2
- Postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome
- Total antibodies