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Gründl, Stefanie; Matiasek, Kaspar; Matiasek, Lara; Fischer, Andrea; Felten, Sandra; Jurina, Konrad and Hartmann, Katrin (2017): Diagnostic utility of cerebrospinal fluid immunocytochemistry for diagnosis of feline infectious peritonitis manifesting in the central nervous system. In: Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, Vol. 19, No. 6: pp. 576-585 [PDF, 217kB]


Objectives The aim of the study was to evaluate whether an ante-mortem diagnosis of central nervous system (CNS) feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is possible via immunocytochemical staining (ICC) of feline coronavirus antigen (FCoV) within macrophages of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Methods Prospectively, CSF samples of 41 cats were investigated, including cats with histopathologically confirmed FIP and neurological signs (n = 10), cats with confirmed FIP without CNS involvement (n = 11), cats with neurological signs but another confirmed CNS disease (n = 17), and cats without neurological signs and a disease other than FIP (n = 3). ICC staining of CSF macrophages was performed in all cats. Sensitivity, specificity, positive (PPV) and negative predictive values (NPV) of CSF ICC were calculated. Results Of 10 samples from cats with CNS FIP, eight had detectable CSF macrophages, seven of which were positive for FCoV. Ten of 11 samples from cats with confirmed FIP without neurological signs had macrophages in the CSF, with all 10 being ICC-positive. In cats with other CNS disorders, 11/17 had macrophages, two of which stained positively. In cats with diseases other than FIP and without neurological disorders, 2/3 revealed macrophages, with one cat showing positive ICC staining. Diagnosis of FIP via CSF ICC had a sensitivity of 85.0% and a specificity of 83.3%. PPV and NPV were 85.0% and 83.3%. Conclusions and relevance CSF ICC is a highly sensitive test for ante-mortem diagnosis of FIP manifesting in the CNS. However, CNS ICC specificity is too low to confirm FIP and the method should only be applied in conjunction with other features such as CSF cytology. CNS ICC could be helpful to discover pre-neurological stages of CNS FIP.

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