Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Coats, S. Karen

Committee Member

Wise, Dwayne

Committee Member

Pharr, Gregory

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Biological Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Science


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Biological Sciences


Mother-to-child transmission of HIV is the leading cause of pediatric AIDS; however, mechanisms by which HIV compromises pregnancy are not understood. CD4+CD25+ T-regulatory (Treg) cells play a role in pregnancy maintenance. RNA from early and late gestation placentas and fetuses from FIV-infected and control cats were probed for expression of FIV gag and Treg markers CD25, FOXP3, and CTLA4, using real time reverse-transcriptase (RT)-PCR. High rates of vertical transmission and reproductive failure were detected in early and late pregnancy. In control animals, both FOXP3 and CTLA4 expression decreased with gestational stage, indicating a natural decline in Tregs. Expression of FOXP3 and CTLA4 was decreased at early gestation in FIV-infected queens and a trend toward decreased expression of CD25, FOXP3, and CTLA4 in placentas from FIV-infected queens producing non-viable pregnancies was observed as well. Our results suggest that FIV infection may alter placental Treg function and adversely affect pregnancy outcome.