Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Animal Science 101 (2023), 1–10.



Copyright © 2023 by the authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society of Animal Science. Used by permission.


Replication of porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2), an important worldwide swine pathogen, has been demonstrated to be influenced by host genotype. Specifically, a missense DNA polymorphism (SYNGR2 p.Arg63Cys) within the SYNGR2 gene was demonstrated to contribute to variation in PCV2b viral load and subsequent immune response following infection. PCV2 is known to induce immunosuppression leading to an increase in susceptibility to subsequent infections with other viral pathogens such as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV). In order to assess the role of SYNGR2 p.Arg63Cys in co-infections, pigs homozygous for the favorable SYNGR2 p.63Cys (N = 30) and unfavorable SYNGR2 p.63Arg (N = 29) alleles were infected with PCV2b followed a week later by a challenge with PRRSV. A lower PCV2b viremia (P < 0.001) and PCV2-specific IgM antibodies (P < 0.005) were observed in SYNGR2 p.63Cys compared to SYNGR2 p.63Arg genotypes. No significant differences in PRRSV viremia and specific IgG antibodies were observed between SYNGR2 genotypes. Lung histology score, an indicator of disease severity, was lower in the pigs with SYNGR2 p.63Cys genotypes (P < 0.05). Variation in the lung histology scores within SYNGR2 genotypes suggests that additional factors, environmental and/or genetic, could be involved in disease severity.

Lay Summary: Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) is an important virus involved in the onset of a group of severe disease symptoms commonly known as porcine circovirus associated diseases (PCVAD). Vaccination options exist for PCV2, though the severity of PCVAD can be influenced by the presence of additional co-infecting pathogens, such as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), for which vaccination is still a challenge. Host genetic resistance is a potential avenue for solving this problem. Previously, a genetic polymorphism in the SYNGR2 gene was found to be associated with PCV2b viremia and immune response. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of this polymorphism in pigs experimentally co-infected with PCV2b and PRRSV. Pigs were weighed, and blood was collected at various days following infection to measure viremia and antibodies. Histological analysis was performed at the experiment completion to assess disease severity in lungs and lymph nodes. The results showed that variation within the SYNGR2 gene is involved in PCV2b disease progression including lung histology scores, but no evidence was seen in response to PRRSV infection.