FIV diversity: FIVPle subtype composition may influence disease outcome in African lions

Jennifer L. Troyer, Melody E. Roelke, Jillian M. Jespersen, Natalie Baggett, Valerie Buckley-Beason, Dan MacNulty, Meggan Craft, Craig Packer, Jill Pecon-Slattery, Stephen J. O'Brien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infects domestic cats and at least 20 additional species of non-domestic felids throughout the world. Strains specific to domestic cat (FIVFca) produce AIDS-like disease progression, sequelae and pathology providing an informative model for HIV infection in humans. Less is known about the immunological and pathological influence of FIV in other felid species although multiple distinct strains of FIV circulate in natural populations. As in HIV-1 and HIV-2, multiple diverse cross-species infections may have occurred. In the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, three divergent subtypes of lion FIV (FIVPle) are endemic, whereby 100% of adult lions are infected with one or more of these strains. Herein, the relative distribution of these subtypes in the population are surveyed and, combined with observed differences in lion mortality due to secondary infections based on FIVPle subtypes, the data suggest that FIVPle subtypes may have different patterns of pathogenicity and transmissibility among wild lion populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-346
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary immunology and immunopathology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Oct 15 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Randy Johnson and Rachel Simmons for statistical assistance and consultation. This research was supported in part by the Intramural Research Program of the NIH , National Cancer Institute, Center for Cancer Research and has also been funded in part with federal funds from the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health , under contract HHSN26120080001E . Samples were collected in full compliance with specific federal permits (CITES; Endangered and Threatened Species) issued to the National Cancer Institute, principal investigator S.J. O’Brien, by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the Department of the Interior. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


  • Babesia
  • CDV
  • FIVPle
  • Lions


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