Pro-inflammatory (IL-8, TNF-a, IL-1b) and immune (IFN-g, IL-10) cytokines were evaluated in PCV2-vaccinated and unvaccinated pigs exposed to natural PCV2 infection retrospectively selected according to the time of the onset of viremia and the viral burden, and the presence of PMWS clinical signs. In a farrow-to-finish herd with a history of PMWS in animals aged older than 15 weeks, at weaning (21 3 days of age), vaccinated pigs were intramuscularly inoculated with one dose of Porcilis1 PCV vaccine + adjuvant whereas the adjuvant alone was administered to the control animals. Thirty animals bled at 16 weeks of age (before the occurrence of the natural infection and the onset of the disease) and then at 19, 20, 22 and 26 weeks of age, were categorized as: (a) vaccinated non-infected and non-PMWSaffected (PCV2-vac), (b) unvaccinated spontaneously infected/non-PMWS-affected (Ctrl) and (c) unvaccinated spontaneously infected/PMWS-affected (Ctrl-PMWS+) pigs. A major evidence of this study is that PMWS-affected animals were not able to mount an efficient innate pro-inflammatory response to cope with PCV2 infection as demonstrated by the low levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, namely IL-8, TNF-a and IL-1b, and IFN-g. Conversely, significantly increased gene expression levels of IL-8, TNF-a and IL-1b were detected especially in the PCV2-vac group at the early phase of the infection. Moreover, in PMWS diseased animals, a significant increase of IL-10 occurred at the early phase of infection, while, vaccinated pigs, in addition to the low viremia burden and its frequency and the absence of PMWS disease, showed a more stable IFN-g response.
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