Natural or experimental feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infection in cats is often associated with hematologic abnormalities which are similar to those observed in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected patients. To determine if cells in bone marrow are infected with FIV and whether severity of hematopoietic disorder is correlated with the level of viral infection, bone marrow tissues from ten experimentally and two naturally FIV infected cats were examined by in situ hybridization for presence of FIV RNA. Seven of the 12 FIV infected cats were also naturally or experimentally coinfected with feline leukemia virus (FeLV). FIV RNA was detected mainly in megakaryocytes and unidentified mononuclear cells in the bone marrow of cats that were sick and had marrow hypercellularity and immaturity. These included all cats in the acute phase of FIV infection and two of seven long term FIV infected cats. One long term FIV infected cat with lymphosarcoma was also positive for FIV RNA in bone marrow cells. The other four long term FIV infected cats were relatively healthy, with normal bone marrow morphology, and were negative for FIV infected cells. Bone marrow from three non-infected and two cats infected with FeLV alone were also negative for FIV RNA by in situ hybridization. We concluded that megakaryocytes and mononuclear cells were targets of the viral infection and that the presence of FIV RNA in cells of the bone marrow correlated with marrow hypercellularity and immaturity, and severity of illness.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology