Antiviral effect of dietary germanium biotite supplementation in pigs experimentally infected with porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus

J Vet Sci. 2013;14(2):135-41. doi: 10.4142/jvs.2013.14.2.135. Epub 2013 Jun 21.


Germanium biotite (GB) is an aluminosilicate mineral containing 36 ppm germanium. The present study was conducted to better understand the effects of GB on immune responses in a mouse model, and to demonstrate the clearance effects of this mineral against Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) in experimentally infected pigs as an initial step towards the development of a feed supplement that would promote immune activity and help prevent diseases. In the mouse model, dietary supplementation with GB enhanced concanavalin A (ConA)-induced lymphocyte proliferation and increased the percentage of CD3+CD8+ T lymphocytes. In pigs experimentally infected with PRRSV, viral titers in lungs and lymphoid tissues from the GB-fed group were significantly decreased compared to those of the control group 12 days post-infection. Corresponding histopathological analyses demonstrated that GB-fed pigs displayed less severe pathological changes associated with PRRSV infection compared to the control group, indicating that GB promotes PRRSV clearance. These antiviral effects in pigs may be related to the ability of GB to increase CD3+CD8+ T lymphocyte production observed in the mice. Hence, this mineral may be an effective feed supplement for increasing immune activity and preventing disease.

Keywords: germanium biotite; immune enhancement; porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aluminum Silicates / administration & dosage
  • Aluminum Silicates / therapeutic use*
  • Animal Feed / analysis
  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • CD3 Complex / metabolism
  • CD8 Antigens / metabolism
  • Concanavalin A / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Ferrous Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Ferrous Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Germanium / administration & dosage
  • Germanium / therapeutic use*
  • Lung / immunology
  • Lung / virology
  • Lymphocyte Activation / drug effects
  • Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Lymphoid Tissue / immunology
  • Lymphoid Tissue / virology
  • Mice
  • Mitogens / metabolism
  • Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome / pathology
  • Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome / virology
  • Porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome virus / drug effects*
  • Swine


  • Aluminum Silicates
  • Antiviral Agents
  • CD3 Complex
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Ferrous Compounds
  • Mitogens
  • Germanium
  • Concanavalin A
  • biotite