Immune response of neonatal specific pathogen-free cats to experimental infection with Bartonella henselae

Lynn Guptill, Leonard Slater, Ching Ching Wu, Lawrence T. Glickman, Tsang Long Lin, David F. Welch, Julie Tobolski Crippen, Harm Hogenesch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine whether neonatal cats develop and maintain a persistent bacteremia for longer than do adult cats with a normal mature immune system, and whether neonatal cats are susceptible to infection with Bartonella henselae by oral inoculation. Neonatal specific pathogen-free (SPF) cats were inoculated with B. henselae intradermally (n = 4) or orally (n = 5) or with 0.9% NaCl (n = 2). Blood was collected periodically through 16 weeks post-inoculation (PI) for serology, bacteriology and complete blood count. Cats inoculated orally or intradermally at 3-5 days of age were bacteremic through 12-16 weeks PI, similar to what is documented for adult cats inoculated intradermally or intravenously. One cat inoculated at age 2 weeks was bacteremic through 10 weeks PI; the other was not bacteremic. Intradermally inoculated neonatal cats produced serum IgG antibodies to B. henselae but orally inoculated neonatal cats did not. Infected cats with and without serum IgG antibodies to B. henselae became blood-culture negative simultaneously, suggesting that IgG is not required to clear bacteremia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-243
Number of pages11
JournalVeterinary Immunology and Immunopathology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Nov 30 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Bartonella henselae
  • Cats
  • Immune response
  • Immunity
  • Immunoglobulin
  • Neonate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • veterinary(all)

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