Computational and Mathematical Methods in Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 342602, 9 pages
Research Article

Time-Course Analysis of Main Markers of Primary Infection in Cats with the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

1INRIA, Project-team NUMED, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, 46 allée d’Italie, 69007 Lyon Cedex 07, France
2Discovery Research, Merial SAS, 69007 Lyon, France
3Institute for Computing Applications “M. Picone”, National Research Council of Italy (CNR), Rome, Italy
4Service d'Hygiène, Epidémiologie et Prévention, Hospices Civils de Lyon, 69008 Lyon, France
5Université de Lyon, 69000 Lyon, Lyon, Université Lyon I, Villeurbanne, F-69100, France
6Université de Lyon I, 69000 Villeurbanne, France
7Equipe Epidémiologie et Santé Publique, Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive, UMR 5558, CNRS, 8 Avenue Rockefeller, 69310 Lyon cedex, France

Received 14 June 2012; Accepted 29 July 2012

Academic Editor: Francesco Pappalardo

Copyright © 2012 B. Ribba et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Studies of the response of the immune system to feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) during primary infection have shown that a subpopulation of T-cells with an activated phenotype and reduced expression of the CD8 chain (denoted CD8 T cells) expands to reach up to 80% of the total T cell count. The expansion of this subpopulation is considered to be a signature of FIV and an indicator of immune system alteration. We use a simple mathematical formalism to study the relationships over time between the dose of infection, the size of the CD8 population, and the circulating viral load in cats infected with FIV. Viremia profiles are described using a combination of two exponential laws, whereas the CD8 percentage (out of the total population) is represented by a Gompertz law including an expansion phase and a saturation phase. Model parameters are estimated with a population approach using data from 102 experimentally infected cats. We examine the dose of infection as a potential covariate of parameters. We find that the rates of increase of viral load and of CD8 percentage are both correlated with the dose of infection. Cats that develop strong acute viremia also show the largest degree of CD8 expansion. The two simple models are robust tools for analysing the time course of CD8 percentage and circulating viral load in FIV-infected cats and may be useful for generating new insights on the disease and on the design of therapeutic strategies, potentially applicable to HIV infection.