Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version

October 2004


Published in Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology 102 (2004) 299–314.


Immunization of pigs with a modified live porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) vaccine initially elicits a weak interferon (IFN)-γ response. To improve the immune response, an adjuvant consisting of plasmid encoding either porcine interleukin (IL)-12 or IFN-α was co-administered during vaccination. In the presence of either adjuvant, at least a threefold increase in the primary virus-specific IFN-γ response was observed. While this enhancement was only transient (1 week) when the IL-12 expressing plasmid was used, the effect was not only still apparent at 6 weeks after vaccination in the presence of the IFN-α expressing plasmid but even after challenge with a virulent genetically divergent PRRSV. In contrast, no effect of either adjuvant on the production of anti-virus antibodies was noticed throughout the study. Despite the apparent augmentation of a T helper (Th) 1 type response by the inclusion of IFN-α or IL-12 during vaccination, this modulation did not necessarily correlate with a reduction in viremia. Since a similar increase in the degree of the IFN-γ response to the PRRSV vaccine could be achieved by substituting polyinosinic–polycytidylic acid in lieu of either cytokine, exposure to PRRSV in the presence of a variety of Th 1 polarizing molecules can positively influence the development of the cell-mediated immune response of swine to this pathogen. Conceivably, such intervention could be applied to improve the formulation of anti-PRRSV vaccines.