Feline immune response to infection by Cytauxzoon felis and the role of CD18 in the pathogenesis of cytauxzoonosis
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Cytauxzoonosis is a highly fatal, hemoprotozoal disease of cats in the Mid-Western, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeastern United States, caused by Cytauxzoon felis. Although the causative agent has been recognized since 1976, no study has profiled the immune response of infected cats, there is no definitive cure, and C. felis has not been successfully maintained in cell cultures in vitro, thwarting research efforts. One of the main histopathologic characteristics of this disease is the presence of giant, infected, intravascular macrophages, many of which are adhered to the vascular endothelium. The main goals of this project are: 1) to characterize the feline immune response to C. felis; 2) to develop a cell culture system in order to study C. felis in vitro; and 3) to determine whether CD18 plays a role in the pathogenesis of cytauxzoonosis.