Evaluating the association between blood genotype or phenotype and haemoplasma infection in UK and Italian cats

Eva Spada, Paola Galluzzo, Alessandra Torina, Guido R. Loria, Roberta Perego, Francesca Grippi, Valeria Blanda, Luciana Baggiani, Alessia D'Amico, Maria G. Pennisi, Chris R. Helps, Richard Malik, Mark Westman, Barbara Gandolfi, Sarah Spencer, Daniela Proverbio, Séverine Tasker

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Background: In humans, blood groups are associated with varying prevalence of infections. The aim of this study was to determine if associations exist between the feline AB blood group system and haemoplasma infection.Methods: Data from two studies were combined. In the first study, DNA samples from 131 haemoplasma-infected and 132 haemoplasma-uninfected UK cats underwent pyrosequencing to determine their blood genotype as AA, Ab or bb. In the second study, blood samples from 160 Italian cats of known blood phenotype A, B or AB underwent PCR testing for feline haemoplasma species DNA. Results: Haemoplasma infection was demonstrated in cats of all phenotypes and genotypes. A significantly higher number of Ab genotype cats tested positive for overall haemoplasma infection status (p = 0.04) and for Mycoplasma haemofelis infection (p = 0.03). Limitations: Haemoplasma-infected Italian cats were few, possibly increasing the chance of type II error, and the presence of purebred cats in the sample population may have had a confounding effect. Conclusions: Feline haemoplasmas do not appear to preferentially use either blood type A or B antigens as attachment sites for erythrocyte colonisation. Further investigations in a larger number of haemoplasma-infected cats of known blood phenotype are warranted to explain the association between genotype Ab and haemoplasma infection.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2282
Number of pages9
JournalVeterinary Record
Issue number12
Early online date12 Oct 2022
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2023


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