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Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome

Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome is a disease of the immune system which can cause the lymph nodes to become severely enlarged.

Found in

1 in 1,300 cats

in our testing

Key Signs

Lymphadenopathy, Abdominal distention, Weight loss, Anorexia, Weakness

Age of Onset

0 to 2 yrs

Juvenile onset


Autosomal Recessive

For autosomal recessive disorders, cats with two copies of the variant are at risk of developing the condition. Cats with one copy of the variant are considered carriers and are usually not at risk of developing the disorder. However, carriers of some complex variants grouped in this category may be associated with a low risk of developing the disorder. Individuals with one or two copies may pass the disorder-associated variant to their kittens if bred.

Likelihood of the Condition

High likelihood

At risk cats are highly likely to show signs of this disease in their lifetime.

What to Do

Here’s how to care for a cat with Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome

Partner with your veterinarian to make a plan regarding your cat’s well-being, including any insights provided through genetic testing. If your pet is at risk or is showing signs of this disorder, then the first step is to speak with your veterinarian.

For Veterinarians

Here’s what a vet needs to know about Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome

Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome (ALPS) is a rare, severe disorder that has been described in British Shorthair cats. The disorder is caused by the inability of the body to destroy unneeded T-lymphocytes, which leads to massive accumulation of T-lymphocytes within lymph nodes. Diffuse enlargement of lymph nodes is typically noticed in kittens around six weeks of age. The progression of clinical signs is rapid and affected kittens develop severe abdominal distension, lethargy, and weight loss. Regenerative anemia is also typically present. No effective treatment has been described and affected kittens are typically euthanized for humane reasons before four months of age.

Upon initial observation of clinical signs, affected cats should be closely monitored to assess welfare. As clinical signs are rapidly progressive, affected cats are usually euthanized on welfare grounds by four months of age.

For Breeders

Planning to breed a cat with this genetic variant?

There are many responsibilities to consider when breeding cats. Regardless of test results it is important that your cat is in good general health and that you are in a position to care for the kittens if new responsible owners are not found. For first time or novice breeders, advice can be found at most cat registry websites.

This disease is autosomal recessive meaning that two copies of the mutation are needed for disease signs to be shown. A carrier cat with one copy of the Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome mutation can be safely bred with a clear cat with no copies of the Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome mutation. About half of the kittens will have one copy (carriers) and half will have no copies of the Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome mutation. Kittens in a litter which is expected to contain carriers should be tested prior to breeding. Carrier to carrier matings are not advised as the resulting litter may contain affected kittens. Please note: It is possible that disease signs similar to the ones caused by the Autoimmune Lymphoproliferative Syndrome mutation could develop due to a different genetic or clinical cause.

Technical Details

Variant Insertion
Chromosome F1
Coordinate 16,871,911

All coordinates reference FelCat9.0

References & Credit

Credit to our scientific colleagues:

Aberdein, D., Munday, J. S., Gandolfi, B., Dittmer, K. E., Malik, R., Garrick, D. J., … Consortium, 99 Lives. (2017). A FAS-ligand variant associated with autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome in cats. Mammalian Genome, 28(1), 47–55. View the article