BACKGROUND: Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) is one of the most important swine diseases in the world and genetic selection of pigs for increased resistance to PRRS is an attractive method to improve the health status of the swine herd. This study compared phenotypic and genetic responses to infection with one of two genetically distinct type 2 PRRS virus (PRRSV) isolates: NVSL-97-7895 (NVSL) and KS-2006-72109 (KS06), and evaluated whether the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) WUR10000125 (WUR) on chromosome 4 that was associated with viral load and weight gain under infection with NVSL also has an effect on response to infection across North American PRRSV isolates. Wood's lactation curve was fitted to repeated viremia measurements to derive five curve characteristics that were evaluated.
RESULTS: Infection with NVSL was characterized by reaching a 14 ± 2 % higher peak viremia (PV) 2.5 ± 0.6 days earlier (time to peak; TP) than KS06, followed by 36 ± 1 % faster virus clearance, which occurred 3.9 ± 0.7 days sooner. Weight gain from 0 to 42 days post-infection (WG) tended to be higher under infection with KS06 than NVSL (3.7 ± 1.5 kg). Estimates of heritability were moderate for both PRRSV isolates for viral load from 0 to 21 days post-infection (VL) (NVSL: 0.31 ± 0.06; KS06: 0.51 ± 0.09) and WG (NVSL: 0.33 ± 0.06; KS06: 0.31 ± 0.09). Strong negative genetic correlations were observed between VL and WG for both NVSL (-0.74 ± 0.10) and KS06 (-0.52 ± 0.17) infected pigs. Pigs with genotype AB at the WUR SNP had a more desirable phenotype than AA pigs for all traits under infection with NVSL, but only for VL and PV with KS06; effects on other traits were smaller and not significantly different from zero (P > 0.05). Genetic correlations of host response between isolates were strong for VL, WG and PV. Accounting for WUR genotype had little impact on these correlations, suggesting that response to PRRSV infection has a substantial polygenic component that is common between these two isolates.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that the KS06 PRRSV isolate is less virulent than NVSL but that genetic selection for increased resistance to either of these genetically distinct isolates is expected to increase resistance to the other isolate.