Morphologic features and development of granulomatous vasculitis in feline infectious peritonitis

Vet Pathol. 2005 May;42(3):321-30. doi: 10.1354/vp.42-3-321.


Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a fatal, coronavirus (CoV)-induced systemic disease in cats, characterized by granulomas in organs and granulomatous vasculitis. This study describes the morphologic features of granulomatous vasculitis in FIP as well as its development in the course of monocyte-associated feline CoV (FCoV) viremia in five naturally infected Domestic Shorthair cats with FIP. Monocyte-associated FCoV viremia was demonstrated by immunohistology, RNA in situ hybridization, and electron micropscopy. Granulomatous phlebitis at different stages of development was observed. Vasculitic processes ranged from attachment and emigration of FCoV-infected monocytes to vascular/perivascular granulomatous infiltrates with destruction of the vascular basal lamina. Monocytes as well as perivascular macrophages were activated because they were strongly positive for CD18 and expressed cytokines (tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-1beta) and matrix metalloproteinase-9. In addition, general activation of endothelial cells, represented by major histocompatibility complex II upregulation, was observed in all cases. These results confirm FIP as a monocyte-triggered systemic disease and demonstrate the central role of activated monocytes in FIP vasculitis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cat Diseases / pathology*
  • Cat Diseases / virology
  • Cats
  • Coronavirus, Feline / ultrastructure*
  • DNA Primers
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis / complications
  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis / pathology*
  • Granuloma / etiology
  • Granuloma / pathology
  • Granuloma / veterinary*
  • Immunohistochemistry / veterinary
  • In Situ Hybridization / veterinary
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission / veterinary
  • Monocytes / ultrastructure
  • Vasculitis / etiology
  • Vasculitis / pathology
  • Vasculitis / veterinary*
  • Viremia / pathology
  • Viremia / veterinary*


  • DNA Primers