Leishmania infantum Specific Humoral and Cellular Immune Responses in Cats and Dogs: A Comparative Cross-Sectional Study

Vito Priolo, Pamela Martínez-Orellana, Maria Grazia Pennisi, Ana Isabel Raya-Bermúdez, Estefania Jurado-Tarifa, Marisa Masucci*, Giulia Donato, Federica Bruno, Germano Castelli, Laia Solano-Gallego

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Dogs are the main reservoir of Leishmania infantum and display different immunological patterns correlating with the progression of infection to disease. Data about feline L. infantum adaptive immune response are scant. This study aimed to compare the prevalence and immune response in cats and dogs from the same endemic area of canine leishmaniosis. Stray cats (109) and rescued dogs (59) from Córdoba (Spain) were enrolled. Data about their exposure to L. infantum were analyzed by detection of parasite DNA, measurements of Leishmania-specific interferon-γ (whole blood assay in 57 cats and 29 dogs), and antibodies (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunofluorescence antibody test). An overall L. infantum prevalence of 30.5% in dogs and 30% in cats were found according to serology and PCR tests. Prevalence was 44.8% in dogs and 35.1% in cats tested also for interferon-γ production. Dogs showed higher anti-L. infantum antibody levels compared to cats. More than one-third of cats had contact with or were infected by L. infantum and they may contribute to the endemicity of leishmaniosis in the investigated region. The immunopathogenesis of feline L. infantum infection has similarities with dogs but cats show a lower level of adaptive immune response compared to dogs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number482
JournalVeterinary Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022


  • IFAT
  • IFN-γ
  • PCR
  • canine
  • feline
  • feline immunodeficiency virus
  • leishmaniosis
  • prevalence
  • whole blood assay


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