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J Virol. 2007 May;81(10):5202-11. Epub 2007 Mar 7.

Long-term control of simian immunodeficiency virus replication with central memory CD4+ T-cell preservation after nonsterile protection by a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-based vaccine.

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  • 1International Research Center for Infectious Diseases, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan.


Induction of virus-specific CD8(+) cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) responses is a promising strategy for AIDS vaccine development. However, it has remained unclear if or how long-term viral containment and disease control are attainable by CTL-based nonsterile protection. Here, we present three rhesus macaques that successfully maintained Env-independent vaccine-based control of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) mac239 replication without disease progression for more than 3 years. SIV-specific neutralizing antibody induction was inefficient in these controllers. Vaccine-induced Gag-specific CTLs were crucial for the chronic as well as the primary viral control in one of them, whereas those Gag-specific CTL responses became undetectable and CTLs specific for SIV antigens other than Gag, instead, became predominant in the chronic phase in the other two controllers. A transient CD8(+) cell depletion experiment 3 years postinfection resulted in transient reappearance of plasma viremia in these two animals, suggesting involvement of the SIV non-Gag-specific CTLs in the chronic SIV control. This sustained, neutralizing antibody-independent viral control was accompanied with preservation of central memory CD4(+) T cells in the chronic phase. Our results suggest that prophylactic CTL vaccine-based nonsterile protection can result in long-term viral containment by adapted CTL responses for AIDS prevention.

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