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Research article2017Peer reviewedOpen access

Innate immune responses induced by the saponin adjuvant Matrix-M in specific pathogen free pigs

Ahlberg, Viktor; Hjertner, Bernt; Wallgren, Per; Hellman, Stina; Bengtsson, Karin Lovgren; Fossum, Caroline


Saponin-based adjuvants have been widely used to enhance humoral and cellular immune responses in many species, but their mode of action is not fully understood. A characterization of the porcine transcriptional response to Matrix-M was performed in vitro using lymphocytes, monocytes or monocyte-derived dendritic cells (MoDCs) and in vivo. The effect of Matrix-M was also evaluated in specific pathogen free (SPF) pigs exposed to conventionally reared pigs. The pro-inflammatory cytokine genes IL1B and CXCL8 were up-regulated in monocytes and lymphocytes after Matrix-M exposure. Matrix-M also induced IL12B, IL17A and IFNG in lymphocytes and IFN-a gene expression in MoDCs. Several genes were indicated as up-regulated by Matrix-M in blood 18 h after injection, of which the genes for IFN-a and TLR2 could be statistically confirmed. Respiratory disease developed in all SPF pigs mixed with conventional pigs within 1-3 days. Two out of four SPF pigs injected with saline prior to contact exposure displayed systemic symptoms that was not recorded for the four pigs administered Matrix-M. Granulocyte counts, serum amyloid A levels and transcription of IL18 and TLR2 coincided with disease progression in the pigs. These results support further evaluation of Matrix-M as a possible enhancer of innate immune responses during critical moments in pig management.

Published in

Veterinary Research
2017, Volume: 48, article number: 30