CD8+ lymphocytes have been subdivided into CD8alphabeta and CD8alpha alpha populations in the peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) of humans and in several animal species but have not yet been investigated in cats. Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) causes progressive immunological disorders similar to human AIDS. In this study, we analysed CD8+ cells in PBL of FIV-infected or uninfected cats by two-colour flow cytometric analysis. In specific pathogen-free adult cats, feline CD8alpha+beta(high) cells were observed but CD8alpha+beta- cells were not found in significant numbers. On the other hand, not only CD8alpha+beta(high) but also CD8alpha+beta- and CD8alpha+beta(low) cell populations were observed in cats chronically infected with FIV. The expansion of the CD8beta(low) or CD8beta- subpopulations resulted in the apparent differences in CD4/CD8 ratios depending on the anti-CD8 MAb used. These findings suggest a need to reconsider the CD4/CD8 ratio in studies of FIV infection. Furthermore, we found that the CD8alpha+beta- cell population expressed CD5 at a low level.


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