Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) is a major respiratory pathogen of swine that has become extremely costly to the swine industry worldwide, often causing losses in production and animal life due to their ease of spread. However, the intracellular changes that occur in pigs following viral respiratory infections are still scantily understood for PRRSV, as well as other viral respiratory infections. The aim of this study was to acquire a better understanding of the PRRS disease by comparing gene expression changes that occur in tracheobronchial lymph nodes (TBLN) of pigs infected with either porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV-2), or swine influenza A virus (IAV-S) infections. The study identified and compared gene expression changes in the TBLN of 80 pigs following infection by PRRSV, PCV-2, IAV-S, or sham inoculation. Total RNA was pooled for each group and time-point (1, 3, 6, and 14 dpi) to make 16 libraries—analyses are by Digital Gene Expression Tag Profiling (DGETP). The data underwent standard filtering to generate a list of sequence tag raw counts that were then analyzed using multidimensional and differential expression statistical tests. The results showed that PRRSV, IAV-S and PCV-2 viral infections followed a clinical course in the pigs typical of experimental infection of young pigs with these viruses. Gene expression results echoed this course, as well as uncovered genes related to intersecting and unique host immune responses to the three viruses. By testing and observing the host response to other respiratory viruses, our study has elucidated similarities and differences that can assist in the development of vaccines and therapeutics that shorten or prevent a chronic PRRSV infection.
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