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Pathology of Porcine Peripheral White Blood Cells during Infection with African Swine Fever Virus

21 March 2012, at 12:00am

Infection of pigs with African Swine Fever virus resulted in changes in the composition of white blood cells, according to new research from Armenia; acute ASFV infection is accompanied with the formation of atypical lymphocytes in domestic pigs.

African swine fever virus (ASFV) is the causative agent of African swine fever (ASF) that is the significant disease of domestic pigs, according to a paper published recently in BMC Veterinary Research. Zaven Karalyan from the Institute of Molecular Biology of NA in Yerevan in Armenia and co-authors there and at the Scientific Center of Stock Breeding and Veterinary RA, also in Yerevan, report that several studies have shown that ASFV can influence on porcine blood cells in vitro. The Armenian group set out to investigate whether ASFV infection results in changes in porcine blood cells in vivo.

They carried out a series of experiments were performed in order to investigate the effects of ASFV infection on porcine peripheral white blood cells. Nine pigs were inoculated by intramuscular injection with 104 50 per cent hem–adsorbing doses of virus (genotype II) distributed in Armenia and Georgia. A total of 15 cell types was calculated during experimental infection.

Although band–to–segmented neutrophils ratio was much higher (3.5) in infected pigs than in control group (0.3), marked neutropenia and lymphopenia were detected from two to three days post–infection. In addition to band neutrophils, the high number of other immature white blood cells, such as metamyelocytes, was observed during the course of infection.

From the beginning of infection, atypical lymphocytes, with altered nuclear shape, arose and became 15 per cent of total cells in the final phase of infection. Image scanning cytometry revealed hyperdiploid DNA content in atypical lymphocytes only from five days post–infection, indicating that DNA synthesis in pathological lymphocytes occurred in the later stages of infection.

From this study, Karalyan and co-authors concluded that ASFV infection leads to serious changes in composition of white blood cells. Particularly, acute ASFV infection in vivo is accompanied with the emergence of immature cells and atypical lymphocytes in the host blood. The mechanisms underlying atypical cell formation remain to be elucidated.

Reference

Karalyan Z., H. Zakaryan, H. Arzumanyan, K. Sargsyan, H. Voskanyan, L. Hakobyan, L. Abroyan, A. Avetisyan and E. Karalova. 2012. Pathology of porcine peripheral white blood cells during infection with African swine fever virus. BMC Veterinary Research, 8:18. doi:10.1186/1746-6148-8-18

Further Reading

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March 2012