Primary stage of feline immunodeficiency virus infection: Viral dissemination and cellular targets

A. M. Beebe, N. Dua, T. G. Faith, Peter F Moore, Niels C Pedersen, Satya Dandekar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to identify cellular and organ targets of acute feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infection in vivo. Tissues of FIV- infected cats were studied at eight time points during the first 3 months after experimental infection. FIV nucleic acids were first detected by in situ hybridization 21 days after infection, approximately 1.5 weeks after lymph node enlargement was first observed and 3 weeks before the primary acute flu-like illness. The majority of FIV-infected cells were present in lymphoid organs, though low numbers of infected cells were noted in nonlymphoid organs as well. Germinal centers harbored many of the FIV- infected cells within lymphoid tissues. The thymic cortex was also a major site of early infection. Combined in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry revealed that T lymphocytes were the primary target of early FIV infection in tissues of cats before the onset of clinical signs of acute illness. An unidentified population of mononuclear cells and a few macrophages were also infected. During the ensuing acute flu-like illness, the proportion of FIV-infected macrophages in tissues increased dramatically. This early shift in the predominant cellular localization of FIV from T lymphocytes to macrophages may be important for establishing viral persistence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3080-3091
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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