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J Med Primatol. 2002 Aug;31(4-5):171-8.

Species-specific variation in SIV disease progression between Chinese and Indian subspecies of rhesus macaque.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA. trichel@pitt.edu


The shortage of rhesus macaques of Indian origin for acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) research has prompted a search for an alternate species. As rhesus macaques of Chinese origin are more readily obtainable, we have defined the parameters of infection in seven members of this subspecies with the primary virulent isolate, SIV/delta B670. Viremic peaks and set points as determined by real time polymerase chain reaction were, in general, lower than that observed in Indian origin rhesus macaques. As expected, these values were associated with maintenance of CD4+ lymphocytes and significantly longer survival, with six of seven Chinese origin animals living significantly longer than Indian origin rhesus macaques. Interestingly, these findings were associated with a selective amplification of one of two major phylogenetic groups found within the inoculum. This observation is in contrast to Indian origin animals where both phylogenetic groups are commonly identified. Together, these data suggest prudence in the design of experimental protocols using rhesus macaques of Chinese origin where survival and rapid loss of CD4+ lymphocytes are desired endpoints.

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