Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infection in cats is associated with an increase of feline CD (fCD)8α+β - and fCD8α+βlow cells in peripheral blood. To investigate these cells in more detail, an anti-fCD3E mAb, termed NZM1, was generated, which recognizes the extracellular epitope of the fCD3E molecule. The anti-fCD3E mAb proved to be more suitable for identifying feline T cells than the anti-fCD5 one, which has been used as a pan-T-cell reagent in cats, because of the presence of fCD5+fCD3E- cells among lymphocytes. Although the fCD8α+β- and fCD8α +βlow cells in the FIV-infected cats expressed fCD3E, a subset of fCD8α+β- cells expressed fCD3E antigen at a lower level than the T cells whose phenotype was fCD4+, or fCD8α+β low. The lower expression of fCD3E may be associated with the immune status of fCD8α+β- T cells.
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