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      High prevalence of non-productive FeLV infection in necropsied cats and significant association with pathological findings


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          Applying a combination of semi-nested PCR and immunohistology (IHC), the presence of exogenous feline leukemia virus infection was studied in 302 necropsied cats with various disorders. 9% showed the classical outcome of persistent productive FeLV infection which was represented by FeLV antigen expression in different organs. 152 cats (50%) harboured exogenous FeLV-specific proviral sequences in the bone marrow but did not express viral antigen. These cats were considered as horizontally but non-productively infected.

          Statistical evaluation showed a significant association of non-productive horizontal FeLV infection with a variety of parameters. Non-productively infected cats were statistically significantly older and more often originated from animal shelters than cats without exogenous FeLV infection. Furthermore, some pathological disorders like anemia, panleukopenia, and purulent inflammation showed significant association with non-productive FeLV infection. No significant association was found with lymphosarcoma, known for a long time to be induced by productive FeLV infection.

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          Feline leukaemia provirus load during the course of experimental infection and in naturally infected cats.

          Feline leukaemia virus (FeLV) infection in domestic cats can vary in its outcome (persistent, transient, no infection) for reasons that are not entirely known. It was hypothesized that the initial virus and provirus load could significantly influence the course of retrovirus infection. To determine the role of provirus loads, two methods of PCR, a nested PCR and a fluorogenic probe-based (TaqMan) real-time quantitative PCR, which were specific to the U3 region of FeLV-A were established. FeLV provirus in naturally and experimentally infected cats was then measured. Only 3 weeks after experimental FeLV-A infection, persistently infected cats demonstrated higher provirus loads and lower humoral immune responses than cats that had overcome antigenaemia. Lower initial provirus loads were associated with successful humoral immune responses. Unexpectedly, provirus in the buffy-coat cells of two cats that tested negative for the p27 antigen (a marker for viraemia) was also detected. In 597 Swiss cats, comparison of p27 antigen levels with PCR results revealed broad agreement. However, similar to the experimental situation, a significant number of animals (10%) was negative for the p27 antigen and FeLV-positive by PCR. These cats had a mean provirus load 300-fold lower than that of animals testing positive for the p27 antigen. In conclusion, an association between the provirus load and the outcome of FeLV infection was found. Detection of provirus carriers should contribute to further the control of FeLV. In addition, quantification of provirus loads will lead to a better understanding of FeLV pathogenesis and anti-retrovirus protective mechanisms.
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            Structure, replication, and recombination of retrovirus genomes: some unifying hypotheses.

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              Feline leukemia virus infection and diseases.

              Feline leukemia virus is a naturally occurring, contagiously transmitted and oncogenic immunosuppressive retrovirus of cats. The effects of FeLV are paradoxical, causing cytoproliferative and cytosuppressive disease (eg, lymphoma and myeloproliferative disorders vs immunodeficiency and myelosuppressive disorders). In the first few weeks after virus exposure, interactions between FeLV and hemolymphatic system cells determine whether the virus or the cat will dominate in the host/virus relationship--persistent viremia and progressive infection or self limiting, regressive infection will develop. The outcome of these early host/virus interactions is revealed in the diagnostic assays for FeLV antigenemia and viremia. The latter, in turn, predict the outcome of FeLV infection in cats. Known host resistance factors include age and immune system functional status. Known virus virulence factors are magnitude of exposure and virus genotype. Molecular analysis of FeLV strains indicated that natural virus isolates exist as mixtures of closely related virus genotypes and that minor genetic variations among FeLV strains can impart major differences in pathogenicity. The genetic coding regions responsible for cell targeting and specific disease inducing capacity (eg, thymic lymphoma, acute immunosuppression, or aplastic anemia) have been mapped to the virus surface glycoprotein and/or long terminal repeat regions for several FeLV strains. Infection by specific FeLV strains leads to either malignant transformation or cytopathic deletion of specific lymphocyte and hemopoietic cell population, changes that prefigure the onset of clinical illness. Another notable feature of the biology of FeLV is that many cats are able to effectively contain and terminate viral replication, an important example of host immunologic control of a retrovirus infection and a process that can be selectively enhanced by vaccination. Thus, FeLV infection serves as a natural model of the multifaceted pathogenesis of retroviruses and as a paradigm for immunoprophylaxis against an immunosuppressive leukemogenic retrovirus.

                Author and article information

                Vet Immunol Immunopathol
                Vet. Immunol. Immunopathol
                Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
                Elsevier B.V.
                25 March 2010
                July 2010
                25 March 2010
                : 136
                : 1
                : 71-80
                [a ]Institut für Veterinaer-Pathologie, Justus-Liebig-Universitaet Giessen, Frankfurter Straße 96, 35392 Giessen, Hessen, Germany
                [b ]AG Biomathematik, Institut für Veterinaer-Physiologie, Justus-Liebig-Universitaet Giessen, Frankfurter Straße 88, Giessen, Germany
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author. Tel.: +49 7611502170; fax: +49 76115022972. michael.h.suntz@ 123456vetmed.uni-giessen.de m.suntz@ 123456gmx.de
                Copyright © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

                : 12 August 2008
                : 19 February 2010
                : 19 February 2010

                Veterinary medicine
                feline,non-productive felv infection,provirus,immunohistochemistry,semi-nested pcr,bone marrow


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