Neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) are believed to comprise an essential component of the protective immune response induced by vaccines against feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections. However, relatively little is known about the role of NAbs in controlling FIV infection and subsequent disease progression. Here, we present studies where we examined the neutralization of HIV-luciferase pseudotypes bearing homologous and heterologous FIV envelope proteins (n5278) by sequential plasma samples collected at 6 month intervals from naturally infected cats (n538) over a period of 18 months. We evaluated the breadth of the NAb response against non-recombinant homologous and heterologous clade A and clade B viral variants, as well as recombinants, and assessed the results, testing for evidence of an association between the potency of the NAb response and the duration of infection, CD4+ T lymphocyte numbers, health status and survival times of the infected cats. Neutralization profiles varied significantly between FIV-infected cats and strong autologous neutralization, assessed using luciferase-based in vitro assays, did not correlate with the clinical outcome. No association was observed between strong NAb responses and either improved health status or increased survival time of infected animals, implying that other protective mechanisms were likely to be involved. Similarly, no correlation was observed between the development of autologous NAbs and the duration of infection. Furthermore, cross-neutralizing antibodies were evident in only a small proportion (13 %) of cats.
Bęczkowski, P. M., Logan, N., McMonagle, E., Litster, A., Willett, B. J., & Hosie, M. J. (2015). An investigation of the breadth of neutralizing antibody response in cats naturally infected with feline immunodeficiency virus. Journal of General Virology, 96(3), 671–680. https://doi.org/10.1099/vir.0.071522-0