Stoeker LL, Overman EL, Nordone SK, et al. Infection with feline immunodeficiency virus alters intestinal epithelial transport and mucosal immune responses to probiotics. Veterinary immunology and immunopathology 2013;153:146-152.
The intestines provide an important barrier between infectious agents and the animal. Infection with feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) leads to a compromise in the defense mechanisms of the intestinal barrier. Probiotics may be an option to enhance the immune function of the intestinal defenses in infected cats as they seem to be useful in humans infected with HIV. These researchers investigated whether probiotics are helpful or harmful to cats with FIV.
Uninfected and FIV-infected cats were given Lactobacillus acidophilus orally and various parameters of intestinal structure and function were assessed. They found that transport of molecules, including, potentially, microbial pathogens across the intestinal barrier was enhanced in FIV-infected cats. Probiotic administration in FIV-infected cats led to changes in cytokines, the intercellular messages of the immune response, as well as changes in white blood cell populations that were not seen in FIV-uninfected cats. The researchers concluded that probiotics may prove useful as a therapeutic option in FIV-infected cats with intestinal disease, but more research is needed. [MK]