Expression of human CD46 has no effect on porcine circovirus type 2 infection and shedding in the experimental pig model
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Xenotransplantation of tissues from transgenic pigs with desired genetic modifications such as CD46 expression help minimize xenograft rejections. However, CD46 is a known receptor for some viruses. In this study, pigs transgenic for human CD46 (CD46-TG) and appropriate non-transgenic (non-TG) control pigs were utilized to determine possible differences in the level of replication and shedding of porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2). Non-TG and CD46-TG were blocked by transgenic status and randomly divided into three groups: Non-TG negative controls (n = 3), non-TG-PCV2 (n = 10; PCV2a = 5, PCV2b = 5), and CD46-TG-PCV2 (n = 6; PCV2a = 3, PCV2b = 3). Blood, oral, nasal and fecal swabs were collected at regular intervals from the day of arrival until 70 days post inoculation (DPI). All samples were tested by quantitative real-time PCR for the presence of PCV2 DNA and serum was tested for presence of PCV2 antibodies by ELISA. Overall, the main effects “transgenic status” and “PCV2 subtype” had no influence on degree of PCV2 viremia and shedding or the anti-PCV2 humoral immune response in CD46-TG-PCV2 pigs compared to non-TG-PCV2 pigs. Differences in PCV2 concentrations between non-TG-PCV2 and CD46-TG-PCV2 pigs were minimal and limited to DPI 35 in sera, DPI 7 in fecal swabs and DPI 5 in nasal swabs when CD46-TG-PCV2 pigs had significantly higher concentrations of PCV2 DNA. At DPI 1, CD46-TG-PCV2 pigs had significantly lower concentrations of PCV2 DNA in oral swabs. Under the study conditions, the presence of human CD46 in transgenic pigs had no effect on PCV2 infection in otherwise healthy pigs capable of a normal immune response.