Use of Recombinant Interferon Omega in Feline Retrovirosis: From Theory to Practice

Vet Immunol Immunopathol. 2011 Oct 15;143(3-4):301-6. doi: 10.1016/j.vetimm.2011.06.008. Epub 2011 Jun 12.


Type-I interferons (IFNs) are cytokines that have non-specific antiviral activity, participating mostly in innate defense mechanisms. Their administration has been proposed to treat several viral and immunomediated diseases as an immunomodulatory therapy. Due to its availability, recombinant human interferon-alpha (rHuIFN-α) has been studied in relation to feline retrovirosis, both in vitro and in vivo. However, IFNs are species-specific and antibodies have been shown to develop in response to the high rHuIFN-α doses necessary for an effective therapy. A recombinant feline IFN has been developed, which has been characterized as interferon-omega (rFeIFN-ω), designed to overcome these problems. Nonetheless, very few studies have been undertaken to evaluate its efficacy in cats naturally infected with FIV or FeLV. In an initial study, we here demonstrated that rFeIFN-ω can dramatically improve the clinical condition of infected cats, and induce improvement of hematologic parameters. Minor changes or no change was observed for hypergammaglobulinemia, CD4/CD8 ratio, proviral load, viremia and RT activity, suggesting that the overall effect of IFN was on innate immunity. More studies are needed in order to better understand its in vivo mechanisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • CD4-CD8 Ratio / veterinary
  • Cats / virology
  • Feline Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Hypergammaglobulinemia / drug therapy
  • Hypergammaglobulinemia / veterinary
  • Hypergammaglobulinemia / virology
  • Immunodeficiency Virus, Feline / drug effects*
  • Interferon Type I / therapeutic use*
  • Leukemia Virus, Feline / drug effects*
  • Leukemia, Feline / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Viral Load / veterinary


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Interferon Type I
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • interferon omega 1