Immunopathogenesis of the feline atopic syndrome

Richard Halliwell, Frane Banovic, Ralf S Mueller, Thierry Olivry

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Feline diseases of possible allergic origin with similar clinical phenotypes can have a varied underlying pathogenesis. Clinical phenotype, precise aetiology and underlying immunopathogenesis all need to be considered if advances in this neglected area of dermatology are to be made.

OBJECTIVES: To document the status of research into the immunopathogenesis of the diseases that fall within the spectrum of the feline atopic syndrome (FAS ), to summarize the conclusions, identify the limitations and recommend future research directions.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: A search of the literature was undertaken. The strengths and validity of the data and the contributions to our current understanding of the immunopathogenesis were analysed. Skin diseases of presumed allergic aetiology and asthma were assessed separately, as was the role of antibodies, cells and cytokines in each.

RESULTS: The research varied in its quality and its impact often was limited by a failure to employ strict criteria in case selection. This reflected the difficulties of skin reaction patterns associated with a number of inciting causes. Research into feline asthma was handicapped by the difficulties of investigating clinical material, and much of the useful information was derived from experimental models.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL IMPORTANCE: The evidence reviewed was supportive of a role for immunoglobulin (Ig)E in the pathogenesis of both feline atopic skin syndrome (FASS) and asthma, albeit not strongly so. The inflammation noted in both FASS and asthma is accompanied by eosinophils and lymphocytes, and these findings, together with the cytokine expression, are suggestive in some (not all) cats of T-helper type 2 immune dysregulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-e4
JournalVeterinary Dermatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jan 2021


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