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Cytokine and Chemokine Concentrations as Biomarkers of Feline Mycobacteriosis

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Original languageEnglish
Article number17314
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2018


Mycobacteriosis is an emerging zoonotic disease of domestic cats and timely, accurate diagnosis is currently challenging. To identify differential cytokine/chemokine concentrations in serum/plasma of cats, which could be diagnostic biomarkers of infection we analysed plasma/serum from 116 mycobacteria-infected cats, 16 healthy controls and six cats hospitalised for unrelated reasons was analysed using the Milliplex MAP Feline Cytokine Magnetic Bead multiplex assay. Three cytokines; sFAS, IL-13 and IL-4 were reduced while seven; GM-CSF, IL-2, PDGF-BB, IL-8, KC, RANTES and TNF-α were elevated in mycobacteria-infected cats compared to healthy controls. However, IL-8 and KC concentrations were not significantly different from cats hospitalised for other reasons. Elevations in TNF-α and PDGF-BB may have potential to identify M. bovis and M. microti infected cats specifically while GM-CSF, IL-2 and FLT3L were increased in MTBC infected cats. This study demonstrates potential use of feline tuberculosis as a spontaneously occurring model of this significant human disease. Cytokine profiling has clear diagnostic potential for mycobacteriosis of cats and could be used discriminate tuberculous from non-tuberculous disease to rapidly inform on zoonotic risk. Future work should focus on the in-field utility of these findings to establish diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of these markers.

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