Isolation and characterization of a new population of nasal surface macrophages and their susceptibility to PRRSV-1 subtype 1 (LV) and subtype 3 (Lena)

Vet Res. 2020 Feb 24;51(1):21. doi: 10.1186/s13567-020-00751-7.


Sialoadhesin (Sn) and CD163 have been recognized as two important mediators for porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) in host macrophages. Recently, it has been demonstrated that the highly virulent Lena strain has a wider macrophage tropism than the low virulent LV strain in the nasal mucosa. Not only CD163+Sn+ macrophages are infected by Lena but also CD163+Sn- macrophages. This suggests that an alternative receptor exists for binding and internalization of PRRSV Lena in the CD163+Sn- macrophages. Further investigation to find the new entry receptor was hampered by the difficulty of isolating these macrophages from the nasal mucosa. In the present study, a new population of CD163+Sn- cells has been identified that is specifically localized in the nasal lamina propria and can be isolated by an intranasal digestion approach. Isolated nasal cells were characterized using specific cell markers and their susceptibility to two different PRRSV-1 strains (LV and Lena) was tested. Upon digestion, 3.2% (flow cytometry)-6.4% (confocal microscopy) of the nasal cells were identified as CD163+ and all (99.7%) of these CD163+ cells were Sn-. These CD163+Sn- cells, designated as "nasal surface macrophages", showed a 4.9 times higher susceptibility to the Lena strain than to the LV strain. Furthermore, the Lena-inoculated cell cultures showed an upregulation of CD163. These results showed that our new cell isolation system is ideal for the further functional and phenotypical analysis of the new population of nasal surface macrophages and further research on the molecular pathogenesis of PRRSV in the nose.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / immunology*
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic / immunology*
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Nasal Mucosa / immunology
  • Nasal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome / immunology*
  • Porcine respiratory and reproductive syndrome virus / physiology*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / immunology*
  • Sialic Acid Binding Ig-like Lectin 1 / immunology
  • Swine


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic
  • CD163 antigen
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Sialic Acid Binding Ig-like Lectin 1