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Clin Infect Dis. 1999 Mar;28(3):514-9.

Differential tumor necrosis factor alpha production in simian immunodeficiency virus-infected rhesus macaques coinfected with Mycobacterium avium.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Morehouse School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia 30310, USA.


Mycobacterium avium infections are the third most common opportunistic infection in patients with AIDS. Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected rhesus macaques naturally acquire M. avium infections from the environment, and their clinical symptoms are similar to those observed in AIDS patients. We characterized concurrent infection with SIV and M. avium in monkeys on the basis of the growth of the bacteria in macrophages (Mphis) from rhesus macaques and the ability of M. avium to induce SIV replication and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) production. The simian M. avium isolate grew significantly better than did an isolate from an AIDS patient or a chicken isolate (P = .001); it induced significantly more TNF-alpha production in Mphis from SIV-positive and SIV-negative monkeys than did the isolate from an AIDS patient (P = .013). No significant increase in SIV replication was seen in the M. avium isolates, and no correlation was found between increased SIV replication and increased TNF-alpha production. In addition, Mphis from monkeys infected with M. avium during late-stage SIV disease produced less TNF-alpha when stimulated with virulent M. avium.

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