Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Anti-idiotypic antibodies reduce efficacy of the attenuated vaccine against highly pathogenic PRRSV challenge

Ying Yu12, Xuehui Cai2, Gang Wang2, Ning Kong1, Yonggang Liu2, Yihong Xiao3, Chong Zhang1, Yang Mu1, Shuqi Xiao1, Qin Zhao1, Chengbao Wang1, Gaiping Zhang14, Julian A Hiscox5 and En-Min Zhou1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Preventive Veterinary Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi 712100, China

2 State Key Laboratory of Veterinary Biotechnology, Harbin Veterinary Research Institute of Chinese Academy of Agriculture Science, Harbin 150001, China

3 Department of Preventive Veterinary Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Shandong Agricultural University, Taian, Shandong 271018, China

4 College of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, Henan Agricultural University, Zhengzhou, Henan 450002, China

5 Department of Infection Biology, Institute of Infection and Global Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L3 5RF, UK

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BMC Veterinary Research 2014, 10:39  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-10-39

Published: 8 February 2014



The inability of current vaccines to provide effective protection against porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) infection is not fully understood. One of the reasons might be the presence of anti-idiotypic antibodies (Ab2s) to the envelope glycoprotein GP5 induced by PRRSV infection since our previous studies demonstrated the presence of auto-Ab2s (aAb2s) in pigs infected with PRRSV. To test this hypothesis, PRRSV negative piglets were injected with a monoclonal Ab2 (Mab2-5G2) and aAb2s that are specific for anti-GP5 antibody, vaccinated with the attenuated PRRSV vaccine CH-1R and then challenged with the highly pathogenic PRRSV HuN4 strain. The animals were evaluated for clinical signs, pathological changes of the thymus and lungs, viremia, levels of serum antibodies and cytokines.


The piglets injected with Mab2-5G2 or aAb2, and who received the attenuated PRRSV vaccine CH-1R before challenge, produced high levels of anti-N antibodies, IL-2 and IL-4, but low levels of neutralizing antibodies. After PRRSV HuN4 challenge, the animals showed obvious clinical signs, including lung lesions, severe thymus atrophy and decreased production of IL-4 and higher level of viremia.


When anti-GP5 Ab2s are present, the use of attenuated PRRSV vaccine CH-1R against HP-PRRSV infection is not recommended. It can result in poor health status with pneumonia and thymus atrophy.

Anti-idiotype; Cytokines; PRRSV; Vaccination