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J Virol. 1989 Jan;63(1):436-40.

Intrinsic resistance of feline peritoneal macrophages to coronavirus infection correlates with in vivo virulence.

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Cornell Feline Health Center, New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-6401.


Cats infected with virulent feline coronavirus strains develop feline infectious peritonitis, an invariably fatal, immunologically mediated disease; avirulent strains cause either clinically inapparent infection or mild enteritis. Four virulent coronavirus isolates and five avirulent isolates were assessed by immunofluorescence and virus titration for their ability to infect and replicate in feline peritoneal macrophages in vitro. The avirulent coronaviruses infected fewer macrophages, produced lower virus titers, were less able to sustain viral replication, and spread less efficiently to other susceptible macrophages than the virulent coronaviruses. Thus, the intrinsic resistance of feline macrophages may play a pivotal role in the outcome of coronavirus infection in vivo.

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