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  • Author or Editor: Wayne A.F. Tompkins x
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Objective—To determine whether FIV infection in captive African lions is associated with changes in immune cell variables similar to those detected in domestic cats infected with FIV.

Animals—5 captive African lions naturally infected with FIV (FIV+) and 5 lions not infected with FIV (FIV).

Procedure—Peripheral blood samples were collected from FIV+ lions during annual examinations conducted during a 7-year period and at a single time point from the FIV lions. From results of CBC and flow cytometry, lymphocyte subsets were characterized and compared.

Results—Flow cytometric analysis revealed that the percentage and absolute number of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells were significantly lower in FIV+ lions, compared with these values in FIV– lions. In FIV+ lions, severe depletion in the absolute number of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells was detected, although this did not correlate with clinical signs. Muscle wasting was the most consistent clinical sign of infection.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Results suggest that FIV+ African lions develop lymphocyte deficiencies, including significant decreases in the absolute number of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells; these findings of immune dysfunction are similar to those defined for FIV+ domestic cats. It is important to monitor the number of CD4+ T cells in infected animals as a measure of disease progression. (Am J Vet Res 2003; 64:1293–1300)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Bronchoalveolar lavage was performed through an endotracheal tube in 34 specific-pathogen-free cats to determine expected values for bronchoalveolar lavage fluid cytologic analysis, using this method of collection. Saline solution for lavage was instilled in 3 separate aliquots at a volume of 5 ml/kg of body weight each. Analysis of sequential aliquots was performed to investigate the differences in cell counts among the 3 fractions. The effect of combining aliquots, including or omitting the first fraction, was evaluated to determine whether all aliquots could be combined for analysis without substantially affecting results.

The total number of nucleated cells retrieved from each cat ranged from 0.9 to 31.1 × 106. Most of these cells were macrophages (78 ± 15%, mean ± sd) and eosinophils (16 ± 14%). The first aliquot had the greatest number of epithelial cells, and the lowest total nucleated cell count and relative and absolute eosinophil counts. Differences among aliquots also were identified for relative and absolute macrophage counts, relative and absolute neutrophil counts, and absolute lymphocyte count. Statistically significant differences were found for many of the cell counts when values from the combination of the second and third aliquots were compared with values from the combination of all 3 aliquots. Magnitude of the differences was small, and these differences were not believed to be of practical consequence.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research