FIV establishes a latent infection in feline peripheral blood CD4+ T lymphocytes in vivo during the asymptomatic phase of infection

Brian G Murphy, Natalia Vapniarsky Arzi, Chad Hillman, Diego Castillo, Samantha McDonnel, Peter F Moore, Paul A Luciw, Ellen E. Sparger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


Background: Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) is a lentivirus of cats that establishes a lifelong persistent infection with immunologic impairment.Results: In an approximately 2 year-long experimental infection study, cats infected with a biological isolate of FIV clade C demonstrated undetectable plasma viral loads from 10 months post-infection onward. Viral DNA was detected in CD4+CD25+ and CD4+CD25- T cells isolated from infected cats whereas viral RNA was not detected at multiple time points during the early chronic phase of infection. Viral transcription could be reactivated in latently infected CD4+ T cells ex vivo as demonstrated by detectable FIV gag RNA and 2-long terminal repeat (LTR) circle junctions. Viral LTR and gag sequences amplified from peripheral blood mononuclear cells during early and chronic stages of infection demonstrated minimal to no viral sequence variation.Conclusions: Collectively, these findings are consistent with FIV latency in peripheral blood CD4+ T cells isolated from chronically infected cats. The ability to isolate latently FIV-infected CD4+ T lymphocytes from FIV-infected cats provides a platform for the study of in vivo mechanisms of lentiviral latency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number12
StatePublished - Feb 7 2012



  • Cat
  • CD4+CD25+
  • CD4+CD25-
  • Feline
  • FIV
  • Latency
  • Lentivirus
  • Monocyte
  • T cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

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