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Characterisation of a resource population of pigs screened for resistance to salmonellosis

Van Diemen, P.M., Kreukniet, M.B., Galina, L., Bumstead, N., Wallis, T.S.
Veterinary immunology and immunopathology 2002 v.88 no.3-4 pp. 183-196
Salmonella enterica, antibodies, boars, breeding, genes, liver, lymphocytes, neutrophils, piglets, progeny, salmonellosis, spleen, survival rate
The degree of resistance to Salmonella choleraesuis infection in a reference family purposely bred to map resistance genes was assessed. Aspects of the innate and specific immune system were studied to find a parameter that might predict the resistance of pigs to salmonellosis. The family was bred from commercial full-sister pairs of F1-gilts and four boars. One boar (G398) was identified as breeding susceptible offspring, and one boar (G402) as breeding resistant offspring on the basis of pyrexial responses and numbers of Salmonella in liver and spleen post mortem. The other two boars were classified as ‘possible resistant’ (Y2008) and ‘unknown’ (Y6101) respectively. Functional differences in immune cells (neutrophils and lymphocytes) between the offspring of G398 and G402 were detected. The most resistant piglets had a higher number of circulating neutrophils and better polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNs) function, but a lower mitogenic response of lymphocytes both pre- and post-infection and a lower antibody response. Between the offspring groups of Y2008 and Y6101 no differences were found in the number of viable Salmonella in liver and spleen at post mortem or in immune cell function, however, the survival rate of these offspring groups was clearly different. Twenty three percent of the Y2008-offspring and 33% of the Y6101-offspring reached the predetermined humane clinical endpoint before the end of the experiment. Our findings suggest a role for several inherited immunological traits, including PMN function and lecithin-induced mitogenic proliferation, which appear to influence resistance to salmonellosis.