Reproductive failure experimentally induced in sows via artificial insemination with semen spiked with porcine circovirus type 2

D.M. Madson, A.R. Patterson, N. Pal, T. Opriessnig, S. Ramamoorthy, X.J. Meng

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Porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) is associated with reproductive failure in female pigs. However, the association of PCV2-positive semen in the pathogenesis has not been elucidated. The objectives of this study were to determine whether semen spiked with PCV2 causes infection in PCV2-näive, mature female pigs and whether delivery of PCV2 via artificial insemination causes reproductive failure or fetal infection. Nine sows were randomly allocated into 3 groups of 3 sows each and artificially inseminated with PCV2 DNA-negative semen (group 1), PCV2 DNA - negative semen spiked with PCV2a (group 2), or PCV2b (group 3). All sows in groups 2 and 3 developed PCV2 viremia 7 to 14 days after insemination. None of the group 2 sows became pregnant, whereas all group 3 sows (3/3) farrowed at the expected date. At parturition, presuckle serum samples were collected, and live-born piglets, stillborn fetuses, and mummified fetuses were necropsied. All live-born piglets (n 5 8) in group 3 were PCV2 viremic at birth. Stillborn fetuses (n 5 2) had gross lesions of congestive heart failure. Mummified fetuses (n 5 25) varied in crown-rump length from 7 to 27 cm, indicating fetal death between 42 and 105 days of gestation. PCV2 antigen was detected in the myocardium by immunohistochemistry of 7/8 (88%) live-born piglets, 2/2 (100%) of the stillborn fetuses, and 25/25 (100%) of the mummified fetuses. In addition, 4/25 mummified fetuses had PCV2 antigen associated with smooth muscle cells and fibroblasts. The results of this study indicate that intrauterine administration of PCV2 causes reproductive failure in näive sows.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-716
Number of pages10
JournalVeterinary Pathology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2009


  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Circoviridae Infections
  • Circovirus/genetics
  • Female
  • Heart/virology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical/veterinary
  • Insemination, Artificial/veterinary
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications/veterinary
  • Pregnancy Complications/virology
  • Semen/virology
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases/physiopathology
  • Swine Diseases/transmission
  • Swine Diseases/virology


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