Vetmeduni Vienna: Genetic research provides new insights into viral pig disease PRRS

A recently published study conducted by researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna provides new insights into gene expression following infection with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV). A better understanding of the immune response could contribute to the development of effective vaccines to protect against the dangerous viral disease.

PRRSV is an RNA virus that causes mild to severe respiratory and reproductive clinical symptoms in pigs. The problem is that alteration of the host immune response by PRRSV is associated with increased susceptibility to secondary viral and bacterial infections, resulting in even more severe disease. The expression profiles underlying innate and adaptive immune responses to PRRSV infection remain largely unknown, however.

Important contribution to the development of vaccines

In their study, the Vetmeduni research team, led by first author Emil Lagumdzic from the Institute of Immunology along with last author Armin Saalmüller, Head of the Institute of Immunology, investigated the gene expression profiles of PBMC blood cells and CD8+ T cells after PRRSV infection. “The extensive transcriptomics data help to explain the gene signatures of the immune response of PBMCs und CD8+ T cells after PRRSV infection. Additionally, our study provides potential biomarker targets useful for vaccine and therapeutics development,” says Emil Lagumdzic. Even before publication of the study, Emil Lagumdzic had won the prestigious 2022 European PRRS Award from Boehringer-Ingelheim. The pharmaceutical company presents three awards every year to support practical methods to control PRRS and to promote scientific excellence. The winners are chosen by an independent jury consisting of members from the swine industry and science.

PRRS – severe viral disease in pigs causing enormous economic losses

PRRS, which first emerged in Europe and the United States in the late 1980s, is associated with costs in the billions for the pig breeding industry. The goal is to contain the virus through vaccines as well as through novel methods of protection against PRRSV in practice.

The article “Gene expression of peripheral blood mononuclear cells and CD8+ T cells from gilts after PRRSV infection” by Emil Lagumdzic, Clara P. S. Pernold, Reinhard Ertl, Nicola Palmieri, Maria Stadler, Spencer Sawyer, Melissa R. Stas, Heinrich Kreutzmann, Till Rümenapf, Andrea Ladinig and Armin Saalmüller was published in Frontiers in Immunology.

Scientific article

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