Analyses of the impact of immunosuppressive cytokines on porcine macrophage responses and susceptibility to infection to African swine fever viruses

African swine fever viruses (ASFV), currently a serious threat to the global pig industry, primarily target porcine macrophages. Macrophages are characterized by their remarkable plasticity, being able to modify their phenotype and functions in response to diverse stimuli. Since IL-10 and TGF-β polarize macrophages toward an anti-inflammatory phenotype, we analyzed their impact on porcine monocyte-derived macrophages’ (moMΦ) susceptibility to infection and their responses to two genotype I ASFV strains, virulent 26544/OG10 and attenuated NH/P68. At a low multiplicity of infection (MOI), NH/P68, but not 26544/OG10, presented a higher ability to infect moM(IL-10) compared to moMΦ and moM(TGF-β), but no differences were appreciated at a higher MOI. Both strains replicated efficiently in all moMΦ subsets, with no differences at later times post-infection. Both strains downregulated CD14 and CD16 expression on moMΦ, irrespective of the activation status. ASFV’s modulation of CD163 and MHC II DR expression and cytokine responses to NH/P68 or 26544/OG10 ASFV were not affected by either IL-10 or TGF-β pre-treatment. Our results revealed little impact of these anti-inflammatory cytokines on moMΦ interaction with ASFV, which likely reflects the ability of the virus to effectively modulate macrophage responses.

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