Expression of proinflammatory cytokines by hepatic macrophages in acute classical swine fever

Fourteen pigs were inoculated with the 'Alfort 187' strain of classical swine fever (CSF) virus and killed in pairs at 2, 4, 7, 9, 11, 14 or 17 days post-inoculation for histopathological, ultrastructural and immunohistochemical examination. For the latter method, the antibodies used were those against viral antigen Gp55, porcine myeloid marker SWC3, IL-1 alpha, IL-6, TNF-alpha and Factor VIII-related antigen. Activation and increase in the number of hepatic macrophages was observed following viral detection in liver, as well as an increase in IL-1 alpha and IL-6 production, mainly by Kupffer cells. Maximum detection of viral antigen was observed in the middle stage of the experiment coinciding with overexpression of the three cytokines studied, with IL-6 production by interstitial macrophages prominent at the end. Additionally, the labelling of platelets for Factor VIII-related antigen and the ultrastructural study of the sinusoids revealed activation and aggregation of thrombocytes close to Kupffer cells at the beginning of the infection. The liver seems to play a prominent role in the origin of the thrombocytopenia that occurs in CSF and contributes to the overexpression of proinflammatory cytokines considered responsible for the disorders observed during the course of the disease.

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