Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) is the essential etiological infectious agent of PCV2-systemic disease and has been associated with other swine diseases, all of them collectively known as porcine circovirus diseases. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a new class of small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally. miRNAs play an increasing role in many biological processes. The study of miRNA-mediated host-pathogen interactions has emerged in the last decade due to the important role that miRNAs play in antiviral defense. The objective of this study was to identify the miRNA expression pattern in PCV2 subclinically infected and non-infected pigs. For this purpose an experimental PCV2 infection was carried out and small-RNA libraries were constructed from tonsil and mediastinal lymph node (MLN) of infected and non-infected pigs. High throughput sequencing determined differences in miRNA expression in MLN between infected and non-infected while, in tonsil, a very conserved pattern was observed. In MLN, miRNA 126-3p, miRNA 126-5p, let-7d-3p, mir-129a and mir-let-7b-3p were up-regulated whereas mir-193a-5p, mir-574-5p and mir-34a down-regulated. Prediction of functional analysis showed that these miRNAs can be involved in pathways related to immune system and in processes related to the pathogenesis of PCV2, although functional assays are needed to support these predictions. This is the first study on miRNA gene expression in pigs infected with PCV2 using a high throughput sequencing approach in which several host miRNAs were differentially expressed in response to PCV2 infection.
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