The pathogenicity of porcine respiratory coronavirus (PRCV) isolate AR310 was determined for gnotobiotic pigs. PRCV-AR310 was isolated from the intestines of a nursery pig from a herd with endemic transmissible gastroenteritis. The AR310 isolate was plaque purified and cell culture propagated, passed once in a gnotobiotic pig, then used as inoculum for a gnotobiotic pig pathogenicity study. Eight pigs were inoculated oronasally with 2 × 106 plaque-forming units of PRCV-AR310. Eight pigs served as controls and received cell culture medium. Two pigs from each group were necropsied at 3, 5, 10, and 15 days postinoculation (DPI). There was moderate multifocal to coalescing reddish tan consolidation of 60% of the lung by 10 DPI. Microscopic examination revealed a necrotizing and proliferative bronchointerstitial pneumonia characterized by necrosis, squamous metaplasia, dysplasia, proliferation of airway epithelium, mononuclear cell infiltration of alveolar septa, mild type II pneumocyte proliferation, and lymphohistiocytic alveolar exudation. The microscopic lesions were mild by 3 DPI, moderate by 5 DPI, severe by 10 DPI, and mostly resolved by 15 DPI. No lesions were observed in the intestines of these pigs. There was no clinical respiratory disease. Control pigs remained normal and had no lesions. PRCV was isolated from the lungs but not from the intestines of inoculated pigs. PRCV was not isolated from the lungs or intestines of control pigs. PRCV was also isolated from the nasal and rectal swabs of inoculated but not of control pigs.
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