Damage to intestinal barrier integrity in piglets caused by porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus infection

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Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) induces respiratory disease and reproductive failure accompanied by gastroenteritis-like symptoms. The mechanism of intestinal barrier injury caused by PRRSV infection in piglets has yet to be investigated. An in vivo PRRSV-induced model was established in 30-day-old piglets by the intramuscular injection of 2 mL of 104 TCID50/mL PRRSV for 15 days. Observations of PRRSV replication and histology were conducted in the lungs and intestine, and goblet cell counts, relative MUC2 mRNA expression, and tight junction protein, proinflammatory cytokine, TLR4, MyD88, IκB and p-IκB expression were measured. PRRSV replicated in the lungs and small intestine, as demonstrated by absolute RT-qPCR quantification, and the PRRSV N protein was detected in the lung interstitium and jejunal mucosa. PRRSV infection induced both lung and gut injury, markedly decreased villus height and the villus to crypt ratio in the small intestine, and obviously increased the number of goblet cells and the relative expression of MUC2 mRNA in the jejunum. PRRSV infection aggravated the morphological depletion of tight junction proteins and increased IL-1β, IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-α expression by activating the NF-κB signalling pathway in the jejunum. PRRSV infection impaired intestinal integrity by damaging physical and immune barriers in the intestine by inducing inflammation, which may be related to the regulation of the gut-lung axis. This study also provides a new hypothesis regarding the pathogenesis of PRRSV-induced diarrhoea.




Zhao, J., Wan, S., Sun, N., Sun, P., Sun, Y., Khan, A., … Li, H. (2021). Damage to intestinal barrier integrity in piglets caused by porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus infection. Veterinary Research, 52(1), 93. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13567-021-00965-3

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