Pathogenic characteristics of persistent feline enteric coronavirus infection in cats
Virology Division, Department of Infectious Diseases and Immunology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 1, 3584 CL Utrecht, The Netherlands
2 Pathology Division, Department of Pathobiology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Yalelaan 1, 3584 CL Utrecht, The Netherlands
* Corresponding author: email@example.com
Accepted: 20 July 2010
Feline coronaviruses (FCoV) comprise two biotypes: feline enteric coronaviruses (FECV) and feline infectious peritonitis viruses (FIPV). FECV is associated with asymptomatic persistent enteric infections, while FIPV causes feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a usually fatal systemic disease in domestic cats and some wild Felidae. FIPV arises from FECV by mutation. FCoV also occur in two serotypes, I and II, of which the serotype I viruses are by far the most prevalent in the field. Yet, most of our knowledge about FCoV infections relates to serotype II viruses, particularly about the FIPV, mainly because type I viruses grow poorly in cell culture. Hence, the aim of the present work was the detailed study of the epidemiologically most relevant viruses, the avirulent serotype I viruses. Kittens were inoculated oronasally with different doses of two independent FECV field strains, UCD and RM. Persistent infection could be reproducibly established. The patterns of clinical symptoms, faecal virus shedding and seroconversion were monitored for up to 10 weeks revealing subtle but reproducible differences between the two viruses. Faecal virus, i.e. genomic RNA, was detected during persistent FECV infection only in the large intestine, downstream of the appendix, and could occasionally be observed also in the blood. The implications of our results, particularly our insights into the persistently infected state, are discussed.
Key words: coronavirus / experimental infection / FECV / persistence / cat
© INRA, EDP Sciences, 2010