A significant elevation in the percentage of CD4+ and CD8+ T-lymphocytes expressing major histocompatibility complex (MHC) Class II antigens was observed in the blood of cats shortly after they were experimentally infected with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). In addition to an increase in the relative proportion of T-lymphocytes expressing Class II antigens, there was an increase in the density of Class II antigens on the cell surface. These elevations were still evident at the completion of the 5 month study. A second group of cats that had been infected with FIV for almost 5 years, and with either normal or abnormally low levels of CD4+ T-lymphocytes, had similar elevations in MHC II expression, suggesting that such abnormalities are lifelong. Cats with chronic (2 year) feline leukemia virus (FeLV) infection or dual FIV/FeLV infections also showed similar alterations in MHC II expression on CD4+ and CD8+ T-lymphocytes, suggesting that these alterations were not FIV specific. Feline T-lymphocytes expressed more MHC II antigen and interleukin-2 (IL-2) receptor following stimulation in vitro with conconavalin A and IL-2, demonstrating that feline T-lymphocytes respond to activation signals in a manner similar to T-lymphocytes of other species. However, changes in MHC II expression on T-cells of FIV infected cats were not explainable by viral induced T-cell activation alone, because FIV infected cats with elevated MHC II expression did not have coincident elevations in IL-2 receptor expression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology