Theories of how feline AIDS develops
AIDS-like disease develops when the number of functional
CD4 cells falls below a critical level due to overwhelming infection of lymphoreticular
CD4 cell developmental disturbance caused by infection
of macrophages and other antigen-presenting cells.
Virus is constantly mutating in order to escape
the cat's immune response, and AIDS occurs when the virus finally manages this.
FIV infection may cause autoimmune responses against
the cat's own immune response
Secondary infections may cause clinical AIDS either
by causing mild immunosuppression themselves or by stimulating lymphocyte multiplication
and macrophage activation, thereby enhancing FIV replication in these cells.
Some pathogens, e.g. felid herpesvirus-1, may directly
enhance FIV replication.
Neurological disease is thought usually to be caused
directly by FIV replication in the CNS.
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