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In the last decade, the impact of the porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV-2)-associated diseases in pigs has consistently decreased due to the extensive application of PCV-2 vaccines in sows and piglets. However, clinical outbreaks of PCV-2 systemic diseases are still reported. For this reason, optimisation of vaccination schemes, which also evaluates vaccination of both sows and piglets, has been studied (Opriessnig and others 2010, Fraile and others 2012). A one-dose vaccine administered prior to mating in gilts and sows elicited a strong and homogeneous humoral response, and consequently, an increased colostral PCV-2 antibody concentration (Sibila and others 2013). The present paper aims at evaluating both the humoral and, for the first time, the cellular PCV-2-specific immune response in gilts and sows repeatedly vaccinated at each mating in order to contribute to a better knowledge on vaccination schemes in sows and in their offspring.
In a randomised controlled field trial, two cohorts, each comprised by 46 gilts, were investigated. The study protocol was approved by the University of Parma Institutional Animal Care Committee. Animals, seven months old, originated from the same batch of replacements, were randomly allocated by lot either to group ‘VAC’ or to group ‘NV’. On the day of first mating, VAC sows were injected intramuscularly with 2 ml of a PCV-2 vaccine (Porcilis PCV, MSD Animal Health) (off-label use) and NV sows were injected with the adjuvant only. The same treatment was repeated on the day of mating after the weaning of their first and second litter. Blood samples were taken on the day of enrolment to the study, that is, …