Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) crosses the placenta during late gestation and productively infects the fetus. Virus replication and cytokine responses were measured in tissues of fetuses recovered at 109-112 days of gestation, just prior to parturition. At the time of recovery, gross anatomical abnormalities were evident in both infected and non-infected fetuses from the infected dams. Virus isolation and immunohistochemistry identified the thymus as the primary site of virus replication. Steady state RT-PCR amplification of inflammatory, Th1 and Th2 cytokines, showed elevated IFN-γ and TNF-α mRNAs in tissues from infected fetuses, which corresponded to elevated cytokine proteins in serum but not amniotic fluid. Further evidence for induction of immunity was found in the hyperplastic response of lymph nodes, which included the development of germinal centers occupied CDw75+ B cells. Collectively, these data support the notion that the immunocompetent fetus is capable of initiating an antiviral response, which is compartmentalized within the infected fetus. Furthermore, fetal pathology may not be a direct result of virus replication in the fetus.
- Congenital infection
- Interferon-γ (IFN-γ)
- Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV)
- Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research
- Infectious Diseases