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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2002 Mar 20;18(5):391-401.

Alterations in T lymphocyte profiles of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid from SIV- and Pneumocystis carinii-coinfected rhesus macaques.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.


The goal of this study was to examine SIV- and Pneumocystis carinii-coinfected rhesus macaques as a model of P. carinii infection in HIV-seropositive humans. The influence of P. carinii infection on the cellular composition of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid from SIV-infected and normal rhesus macaques was examined by flow cytometric analysis and polymerase chain reaction (PCR). BAL fluid from SIV- and P. carinii coinfected macaques showed a substantial T lymphocyte influx composed of more than 90% CD8+ T cells. These results are in contrast to BAL fluid from SIV-infected macaques with no detectable P. carinii-specific PCR product, where CD4+ T cells were present in significant numbers and the CD8+ T cell population was less than 70% of total CD3+ lymphocytes. We observed no significant differences in peripheral blood CD4+ or CD8+ T cell levels in the SIV-infected animals, regardless of P. carinii status, indicating that the CD8+ T cell infiltration in the lungs of the P. carinii-positive animals was likely the result of P. carinii infection. These results demonstrate that although peripheral blood CD4+ T cell levels are predictive of susceptibility to P. carinii infection in this model, the levels are not reflective of the T cell profile in the lung during SIV and P. carinii coinfection. The SIV- and P. carinii-coinfected macaques showed a spectrum of lung disease severity that was histologically similar to human P. carinii pneumonia (PCP). Interestingly, even mild P. carinii infection was sufficient to alter the normal CD4+/CD8+ T cell profiles in the lungs of SIV-infected rhesus macaques. These results are similar to immunologic findings in human AIDS-associated PCP and support the usefulness of this model in the study of immune responses to P. carinii.

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