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Open Access Research

Experimental depletion of CD8+ cells in acutely SIVagm-Infected African Green Monkeys results in increased viral replication

Thaidra Gaufin1, Ruy M Ribeiro2, Rajeev Gautam1, Jason Dufour3, Daniel Mandell1, Cristian Apetrei4 and Ivona Pandrea5*

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Microbiology, Tulane National Primate Research Center, Covington LA, 70433, USA

2 Theoretical Biology and Biophysics Group, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM 87544, USA

3 Division of Veterinary Sciences, Tulane National Primate Research Center, Covington LA, 70433, USA

4 Division of Microbiology, Tulane National Primate Research Center, Covington LA, 70433, USA and Center for Vaccine Research, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA

5 Division of Comparative Pathology, Tulane National Primate Research Center, Covington LA, 70433 and Center for Vaccine Research, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA

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Retrovirology 2010, 7:42  doi:10.1186/1742-4690-7-42

Published: 11 May 2010

Abstract

Background

In vivo CD8+ cell depletions in pathogenic SIV infections identified a key role for cellular immunity in controlling viral load (VL) and disease progression. However, similar studies gave discordant results in chronically-infected SMs, leading some authors to propose that in natural hosts, SIV replication is independent of cellular immunity. To assess the role of cellular immune responses in the control of SIV replication in natural hosts, we investigated the impact of CD8+ cell depletion during acute SIV infection in AGMs.

Results

Nine AGMs were infected with SIVagm.sab and were followed up to day 225 p.i. Four were intravenously infused with the cM-T807 antibody on days 0 (50 mg/kg), 6, and 13 (10 mg/kg, respectively) post infection (p.i.). CD8+ cells were depleted for up to 28 days p.i. in peripheral blood and LNs in all treated AGMs. Partial CD8+ T cell depletion occurred in the intestine. SIVagm VLs peaked at similar levels in both groups (107-108 RNA copies/ml). However, while VLs were controlled in undepleted AGMs, reaching set-point levels (104-105 RNA copies/ml) by day 28 p.i., high VLs (>106 RNA copies/ml) were maintained by day 21 p.i. in CD8-depleted AGMs. By day 42 p.i., VLs were comparable between the two groups. The levels of immune activation and proliferation remained elevated up to day 72 p.i. in CD8-depleted AGMs and returned to preinfection levels in controls by day 28 p.i. None of the CD8-depleted animals progressed to AIDS.

Conclusion

CD8+ cells are responsible for a partial control of postacute viral replication in SIVagm.sab-infected AGMs. In contrast to macaques, the SIVagm-infected AGMs are able to control viral replication after recovery of the CD8+ T cells and avoid disease progression.