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Demonstration of microchimerism in pregnant sows and effects of congenital PRRSV infection

Uladzimir U Karniychuk1*, Wander Van Breedam1, Nadine Van Roy2, Claire Rogel-Gaillard3 and Hans J Nauwynck1

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Virology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

2 Center for Medical Genetics, Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium

3 INRA, Laboratory of Animal Genetics and Integrative Biology, Jouy-en-Josas, France

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Veterinary Research 2012, 43:19  doi:10.1186/1297-9716-43-19

Published: 16 March 2012


The presence of foreign cells within the tissue/circulation of an individual is described as microchimerism. The main purpose of the present investigation was to study if microchimerism occurs in healthy sows/fetuses and if porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) infection influences this phenomenon. Six dams were inoculated intranasally with PRRSV and three non-inoculated dams served as controls. Male DNA was detected in female fetal sera of all dams via PCR. Male DNA was also detected in the maternal circulation. Sex-typing FISH showed the presence of male cells in the female fetal organs and vice versa. PRRSV infection did not influence microchimerism, but might misuse maternal and sibling microchimeric cells to enter fetuses.