Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a progressive, fatal, predominantly Arthus-type immune-mediated disease that is triggered when cats are infected with a mutant enteric coronavirus. The disease presents variably with multiple organ failure, seizures, generalized effusion, or shock. Neurological FIP is clinically and pathologically more homogeneous than systemic 'wet' or 'dry' FIP; thus, comparison of cytokine profiles from cats with neurological FIP, wet FIP, and non-FIP neurological disease may provide insight into some baseline characteristics relating to the immunopathogenesis of neurological FIP. This study characterizes inflammation and changes in cytokines in the brain tissue of FIP-affected cats. Cellular infiltrates in cats with FIP included lymphocytes, plasma cells, neutrophils, macrophages, and eosinophils. IL-1β, IL-6, IL-12, IL-18, TNF-α, macrophage inhibitory protein (MIP)-1α, and RANTES showed no upregulation in the brains of control cats, moderate upregulation in neurological FIP cats, and very high upregulation in generalized FIP cats. Transcription of IFN-γ appeared upregulated in cats with systemic FIP and slightly downregulated in neurological FIP. In most cytokines tested, variance was extremely high in generalized FIP and much less in neurological FIP. Principal components analysis was performed in order to find the least number of 'components' that would summarize the cytokine profiles in cats with neurological FIP. A large component of the variance (91.7%) was accounted for by levels of IL-6, MIP-1α, and RANTES. These findings provide new insight into the immunopathogenesis of FIP and suggest targets for immune therapy of this disease.
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