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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2004 Jan;20(1):27-40.

Rapid CD4+ T-lymphocyte depletion in rhesus monkeys infected with a simian-human immunodeficiency virus expressing the envelope glycoproteins of a primary dual-tropic Ethiopian Clade C HIV type 1 isolate.

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  • 1Department of Cancer Immunology/AIDS, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Department of Pathology, Division of AIDS, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) chimerae with the envelope glycoproteins of X4 or R5/X4 HIV-1 isolates from clade B can cause rapid and severe CD4(+) T cell depletion and AIDS-like illness in infected monkeys. We created a SHIV (SHIV-MCGP1.3) expressing the envelope glycoproteins of a primary R5/X4, clade C HIV-1 isolate. Infection of a rhesus monkey with SHIV-MCGP1.3 resulted in a low level of viremia and no significant alteration in CD4(+) T-lymphocyte counts. However, serial intravenous passage of the virus resulted in the emergence of SHIV-MCGP1.3 variants that replicated efficiently and caused profound CD4(+) T cell depletion during the acute phase of infection. The CD4(+) T cell counts in the infected monkeys gradually returned to normal, and the animals remained healthy. The ability to cause rapid and profound loss of CD4(+) T lymphocytes in vivo is a property shared by passaged, CXCR4-using SHIVs, irrespective of the clade of origin of the HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins.

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