Open Access Open Badges Research

Optimal combinations of acute phase proteins for detecting infectious disease in pigs

Peter MH Heegaard1*, Anders Stockmarr1, Matilde Piñeiro26, Rakel Carpintero25, Fermin Lampreave2, Fiona M Campbell37, P David Eckersall3, Mathilda JM Toussaint4, Erik Gruys4 and Nanna Skall Sorensen1

Author Affiliations

1 Innate Immunology Group, National Veterinary Institute, Technical University of Denmark, 1790 Copenhagen V, Denmark

2 Department of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry and Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Zaragoza, Zaragoza, Spain

3 Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, College of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine & Life Science, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G61 1QH, UK

4 Department of Pathobiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands

5 Current Address: Division of Immunology and Allergy, Clinical Immunology Unit, University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland

6 Current Address: pigCHAMP Pro Europa S.A., Gremios Segovianos 13, Pol Ind Hontoria, 40195 Hontoria, Segovia, Spain

7 Current Address: University of Aberdeen, Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK

For all author emails, please log on.

Veterinary Research 2011, 42:50  doi:10.1186/1297-9716-42-50

Published: 17 March 2011


The acute phase protein (APP) response is an early systemic sign of disease, detected as substantial changes in APP serum concentrations and most disease states involving inflammatory reactions give rise to APP responses. To obtain a detailed picture of the general utility of porcine APPs to detect any disease with an inflammatory component seven porcine APPs were analysed in serum sampled at regular intervals in six different experimental challenge groups of pigs, including three bacterial (Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae, Streptococcus suis, Mycoplasma hyosynoviae), one parasitic (Toxoplasma gondii) and one viral (porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome virus) infection and one aseptic inflammation. Immunochemical analyses of seven APPs, four positive (C-reactive protein (CRP), haptoglobin (Hp), pig major acute phase protein (pigMAP) and serum amyloid A (SAA)) and three negative (albumin, transthyretin, and apolipoprotein A1 (apoA1)) were performed in the more than 400 serum samples constituting the serum panel. This was followed by advanced statistical treatment of the data using a multi-step procedure which included defining cut-off values and calculating detection probabilities for single APPs and for APP combinations. Combinations of APPs allowed the detection of disease more sensitively than any individual APP and the best three-protein combinations were CRP, apoA1, pigMAP and CRP, apoA1, Hp, respectively, closely followed by the two-protein combinations CRP, pigMAP and apoA1, pigMAP, respectively. For the practical use of such combinations, methodology is described for establishing individual APP threshold values, above which, for any APP in the combination, ongoing infection/inflammation is indicated.