Changes in lymphocyte subsets and cytokines during European porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome: increased expression of IL-12 and IL-10 and proliferation of CD4(-)CD8(high).Viral Immunol. 2009 Jul; 22(4):261-71.VI
The changes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) have been studied in several reports in an attempt to determine the immune response against porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) infection. However, how these changes are evoked after PRRSV infection has not yet been clarified. The aim of this study was to analyze the changes seen in lymphocyte subsets and immunomodulatory cytokine expression in pigs after an acute experimental infection with a European PRRSV field isolate. Pigs were inoculated intramuscularly with PRRSV field isolate 2982. Samples from blood, medial retropharyngeal and tracheobronchial lymph nodes, and spleen were collected at different time points for flow cytometry studies and for cytokine expression by ELISA. CD21(+) cell counts increased in PBMCs and tracheobronchial lymph node cells from 17 to 24 dpi, coinciding with an increase in PRRSV-specific antibody titer in blood. CD3(+) T-cell counts increased mainly due to an enhancement of CD4(-)CD8(high) and CD4(+)CD8(+) T cells. CD4(-)CD8(low) T cells were decreased in all organs studied, whereas CD4(+)CD8(-) T cells decreased only in the spleen. The drop in viremia correlated with an enhancement of CD4(-)CD8(high) T cells, and with a higher expression of interleukin-10 (IL-10) and interleukin-12 p40 (IL-12 p40). No efficient interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) response was detected during the acute phase of the infection, and the expression of interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) was late and reached its maximum expression once the viremia decreased. These results point to IL-10 and IL-12 as cytokines that might play a significant role in the PRRSV immune response, as may CD4(-)CD8(high) T cells.