Effects of dietary soy isoflavones and soy protein source on response of weanling pigs to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome viral infection

Brooke Nicole Smith, Antrison Morris, Maci Lynn Oelschlager, Jordan Connor, Ryan Neil Dilger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is the most prevalent disease of swine globally. Infection of weanling pigs with PRRSV leads to a complex immune response resulting in significant disease and decreased growth performance. Previous experimental evidence suggests that increasing concentrations of soybean meal in the diet of young pigs confer benefits in terms of growth performance and immune parameters. The objective of this experiment was to identify potential modes of action for this benefit, specifically the ability for soy-derived isoflavones (ISF) to confer immunological benefits to young pigs infected with PRRSV. Four dietary treatments differing in soy protein source (soy protein concentrate vs. enzyme-treated soybean meal) and ISF supplementation (none vs. 1,500 mg total ISF/kg) were fed; the control diet (CON) contained soy protein concentrate and no supplemental ISF. Weanling pigs (60 barrows, 21 d of age, 5.71 ± 0.44 kg) from a naturally Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (Mh)-infected source herd were individually housed in disease containment chambers and provided ad libitum access to experimental diets for 7 d before receiving either a sham inoculation or a 9.28 × 103 50% tissue culture infective dose of PRRSV at 28 d of age (0 d postinoculation). A total of 5 experimental treatments included an uninfected group receiving the CON diet, plus four infected groups each receiving a different dietary treatment. Growth performance and rectal temperatures were recorded throughout the study, and blood was collected for quantification of serum PRRSV load, presence of anti-PRRSV antibodies, differential complete blood counts, cytokine concentrations, and T-cell immunophenotyping. Data were analyzed as a 2-way or 3-way ANOVA for all treatments including PRRSV-infected pigs, in addition to a single degree of freedom contrast to compare uninfected and infected pigs receiving the CON diet. PRRSV-infection reduced growth rate and efficiency compared with noninfected controls with minimal influences by ISF. Supplemental ISF reduced PRRSV-induced band neutrophilia and improved cytotoxic-to-helper T-cell ratios. These results suggest that ISF contribute to activation of adaptive immune system pathways and could benefit recovery from and clearance of PRRSV infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberskz135
Pages (from-to)2989-3006
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of animal science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2 2019


  • disease
  • immune system
  • isoflavones
  • porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus
  • soybean
  • swine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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