We previously showed intravaginal inoculation with SHIVsf162p3 results in transient viremia followed by undetectable viremia in most macaques, and some displayed subsequent immunity to superinfection with pathogenic SIVmac251. Here we compare early T cell activation, proliferation, and plasma cytokine/chemokine responses in macaques intravaginally infected with either SHIVsf162p3 or SIVmac251 to determine whether distinct differences in host responses may be associated with early viral containment. The data show SIVmac251 infection results in significantly higher levels of T cell activation, proliferation, and a mixed cytokine/chemokine “storm” in plasma in primary infection, whereas infection with SHIVsf162p3 resulted in significantly lower levels of T cell activation, proliferation, and better preservation of memory CD4+ T cells in early infection which immediately preceded control of viremia. These results support the hypothesis that early systemic immune activation, T cell proliferation, and a more prominent and broader array of cytokine/chemokine responses facilitate SIV replication, and may play a key role in persistence of infection, and the progression to AIDS. In contrast, immune unresponsiveness may be associated with eventual clearance of virus, a concept that may have key significance for therapy and vaccine design.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date Published: 25-March-2011
Author(s): Xu H., Wang X., Morici L., Pahar B., Veazey R.