A total of 100 liver samples from pigs with postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) were studied. All livers were evaluated microscopically and were staged based on the severity and localization of lesions. Presence of porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV-2) was evaluated using an in situ hybridization technique. Eighty-eight of 100 livers (88%) had a variable degree of lymphohistiocytic hepatitis, with apoptotic bodies, disorganization of hepatic plates, and/or perilobular fibrosis. Twelve pigs did not have microscopic liver lesions. Four stages of hepatic damage were established based on intensity and distribution of the lesions. Viral nucleic acid was detected in 70 of 100 livers (70%). Target cells for PCV-2 infection included Kupffer cells, hepatocytes, and inflammatory infiltrates. According to distribution of PCV-2 nucleic acid, four basic labeling patterns were identified. This study shows that liver damage is a frequent microscopic finding in cases of PMWS and hepatocytes are a target cell for PCV-2 infection and replication. Therefore, PCV-2 should be considered a new hepatitis-inducing viral agent in pigs.
- In situ hybridization
- Porcine circovirus type 2