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J Gen Virol. 1999 Feb;80 ( Pt 2):467-75.

Activation in vivo of retroperitoneal fibromatosis-associated herpesvirus, a simian homologue of human herpesvirus-8.

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  • 1Regional Primate Research Center and Department of Pathobiology, University of Washington, Seattle 98195, USA.


Retroperitoneal fibromatosis-associated herpesvirus of rhesus macaques (RFHVMm) is a gammaherpesvirus closely related to human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8), which is thought to be a necessary cofactor for the development of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) in humans. Here, RFHVMm infection of rhesus macaques exposed to the D-type retrovirus simian retrovirus-2 (SRV-2) is described. Development of SRV-2 viraemia, infection with simian immunodeficiency virus or administration of cyclosporin A could result in persistent RFHVMm viraemia. From this, it is concluded that productive retrovirus infection or otherwise-induced immune suppression has the ability to activate this herpesvirus in vivo. Elevated levels of circulating interleukin-6, a cytokine that plays a central role in KS, were found in RFHVMm-viraemic animals. In viraemic animals, RFHVMm was found in tissues that are common sites for the development of AIDS-associated KS, especially the oral cavity. Together, these data suggest a common biology between RFHVMm infection of macaques and HHV-8 infection and pathogenesis in humans.

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