Pilot study of the effect of acemannan in cats infected with feline immunodeficiency virus. Academic Article uri icon


  • Acemannan, a complex carbohydrate shown to stimulate interleukin-1, tumor necrosis factor alpha and prostaglandin E2 production by macrophages, has also demonstrated antiviral activity in vitro against human immunodeficiency virus, Newcastle disease virus and influenza virus. A pilot study was undertaken to determine acemannan's effect in 49 feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) infected cats with clinical signs of disease (Stage 3, 4 or 5), 23 of which had severe lymphopenia. Cats received acemannan either by intravenous (Group 1) or subcutaneous (Group 2) injection once weekly for 12 weeks, or by daily oral (Group 3) administration for 12 weeks. Upon entry into the study, cats were randomly assigned to one of the three groups. Laboratory analyses were performed at the beginning of the study and at Weeks 6 and 12. Cats were allowed to continue with a predetermined maintenance regimen of acemannan after completing the 12-week study. Thirteen cats died during the course of treatment. Upon necropsy, the most frequent histopathologic findings were neoplastic, kidney and pancreatic disease. Friedman's two-way ANOVA test showed no significant differences in efficacy among groups administered acemannan by the different routes. Therefore, groups were combined and a signed-ranks test was used to determine changes over time. A significant increase was seen in lymphocyte counts (P < 0.001). Neutrophil counts decreased significantly (P = 0.007), as did incidence of sepsis (P = 0.008). When cats entering with lymphopenia were analyzed separately, a much greater increase in lymphocyte counts was noted (235%) compared with non-lymphopenic cats (42%). A survival rate of 75% was found for all three groups. Thirty-six of 49 animals are alive 5-19 months post-entry. These results suggest that acemannan therapy may be of significant benefit in FIV-infected cats exhibiting clinical signs of disease.

published proceedings

  • Vet Immunol Immunopathol

author list (cited authors)

  • Yates, K. M., Rosenberg, L. J., Harris, C. K., Bronstad, D. C., King, G. K., Biehle, G. A., ... Tizard, I. R.

citation count

  • 34

complete list of authors

  • Yates, KM||Rosenberg, LJ||Harris, CK||Bronstad, DC||King, GK||Biehle, GA||Walker, B||Ford, CR||Hall, JE||Tizard, IR

publication date

  • January 1992