Low concentrations of nonionic surfactants can change the physical properties of cell membranes, and thus and in turn increase drug permeability. Porcine circovirus 2 (PCV2) is an extremely slow-growing virus, and PCV2 infection of PK-15 cells yields very low viral titers. The present study investigates the effect of various nonionic surfactants, namely, Tween-20, Tween-28, Tween-40, Tween-80, Brij-30, Brij-35, NP-40, and Triton X-100 on PCV2 infection and yield in PK-15 cells.
Significantly increased PCV2 infection was observed in cells treated with Tween-20 compared to those treated with Tween-28, Tween-40, Brij-30, Brij-35, NP-40, and Triton X-100 (p < 0.01). Furthermore, 24 h incubation with 0.03% Tween-20 has shown to induce significant cellular morphologic changes (cell membrane underwent slight intumescence and bulged into a balloon, and the number of microvilli decreased), as well as to increase caspase-3 activity and to decrease cell viability in PCV2-infected PK-15 cells cmpared to control group; all these changes were restored to normal after Tween-20 has been washed out from the plate.
Our data demonstrate that Tween-20 transiently changes the surface morphology of PK-15 cells and improves PCV2 infection. The findings of the present study may be utilized in the development of a PCV2 vaccine.