To assess whether alpha‐1‐acid glycoprotein (AGP) can be detected on the membrane of feline circulating leucocytes.
Design The presence of AGP on circulating leucocytes was investigated in both clinically healthy cats and cats with different diseases. A group of feline coronavirus (FCoV)‐positive cats, comprising cats with feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) and cats not affected by FIP but seropositive for FCoV, were included in this study because the serum concentration of AGP increases during FCoV infection.
Procedure Flow cytometry (using an anti‐feline AGP antibody), serum protein electrophoresis, routine haematology and measurement of the serum AGP concentration were performed using blood samples from 32 healthy cats (19 FCoV‐seropositive), 13 cats with FIP and 12 with other diseases (6 FCoV‐seropositive). The proportion of cats with AGP‐positive leucocytes in the different groups (e.g. controls vs sick; FIP vs other diseases, etc.) or in cats with different intensities of inflammatory response was compared using a Chi‐square test.
Results AGP‐positive leucocytes were found in 23% of cats. Compared with controls, the proportion of patients with positive granulocytes and monocytes was higher among sick cats (especially cats with diseases other than FIP) and cats with high serum AGP concentration, but not in cats with leucocytosis or that were FCoV‐seropositive.
Conclusion AGP‐positive leucocytes can be found in feline blood, especially during inflammation. Conversely, no association between AGP‐positive leucocytes and FIP was found. Further studies are needed to elucidate the mechanism responsible for this finding and its diagnostic role in cats with inflammation.