A potential role for tumour necrosis factor-alpha in synergy between porcine respiratory coronavirus and bacterial lipopolysaccharide in the induction of respiratory disease in pigs

J Med Microbiol. 2000 Jul;49(7):613-620. doi: 10.1099/0022-1317-49-7-613.


This study examined whether exposure of pigs to both porcine respiratory coronavirus (PRCV) and bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) can potentiate respiratory disease and lung secretion of tumour necrosis factor-a (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-1 (IL-1). Caesarian-derived colostrum-deprived pigs were inoculated intratracheally with PRCV, with LPS from Escherichia coli O111:B4 (20 microg/kg), or with a combination of the two, and killed at set times after inoculation. Clinical signs, virus replication and (histo)pathological changes in the lungs, percentage of neutrophils and bioactive TNF-alpha and IL-1 in broncho-alveolar lavage (BAL) fluids were examined. The effects of separate virus or LPS inoculations were subclinical and failed to induce high and sustained cytokine levels. In a preliminary study, pigs were inoculated with PRCV and then with LPS 24 h later and killed sequentially. Severe respiratory disease and significantly enhanced TNF-alpha titres (208-3601 U/ml versus 40-89 U/ml after LPS only) were seen during the first 12 h after LPS inoculation. IL-1 levels (106-1631 U/ml versus 28-654 U/ml after LPS only) were also increased, but persisted for longer after clinical recovery than TNF-alpha. In a second study, pigs were inoculated with PRCV and subsequently with LPS at various time intervals ranging from 0 to 24 h, and killed 5 h after inoculation with LPS. A time interval of at least 12 h between inoculations was necessary for prominent respiratory signs to develop. Production of TNF-alpha, but not IL-1, was also dependent on the time interval between inoculations and was tightly correlated with disease. Lung neutrophil infiltration and pathological changes were comparable after combined PRCV-LPS and single LPS inoculations, and were not associated with disease. These data show that exposure to high endotoxin concentrations in swine buildings can precipitate respiratory disease in PRCV-infected pigs, and that TNF-alpha is probably an important mediator of these effects. This is the first in-vivo demonstration of synergy between respiratory viruses and LPS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / immunology
  • Coronavirus Infections / etiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / veterinary*
  • Interleukin-1 / biosynthesis
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Lung Diseases / etiology
  • Lung Diseases / veterinary*
  • Swine
  • Swine Diseases / etiology*
  • Swine Diseases / immunology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis*


  • Interleukin-1
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha