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J Virol. 2002 Aug;76(16):8433-45.

The relationship between simian immunodeficiency virus RNA levels and the mRNA levels of alpha/beta interferons (IFN-alpha/beta) and IFN-alpha/beta-inducible Mx in lymphoid tissues of rhesus macaques during acute and chronic infection.

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Center for Comparative Medicine, University of California-Davis, 95616, USA.


To define the role of alpha/beta interferons (IFN-alpha/beta) in simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection, IFN-alpha and IFN-beta mRNA levels and mRNA levels of Mx, an antiviral effector molecule, were determined in lymphoid tissues of rhesus macaques infected with pathogenic SIV. IFN-alpha/beta responses were induced during the acute phase and persisted in various lymphoid tissues throughout the chronic phase of infection. IFN-alpha/beta responses were most consistent in tissues with high viral RNA levels; thus, IFN-alpha/beta responses were not generally associated with effective control of SIV replication. IFN-alpha/beta responses were differentially regulated in different lymphoid tissues and at different stages of infection. The most consistent IFN-alpha/beta responses in acute and chronic SIV infection were observed in peripheral lymph nodes. In the spleen, only a transient increase in IFN-alpha/beta mRNA levels during acute SIV infection was observed. Further, IFN-alpha and IFN-beta mRNA levels showed a tissue-specific expression pattern during the chronic, but not the acute, phase of infection. In the acute phase of infection, SIV RNA levels in lymphoid tissues of rhesus macaques correlated with mRNA levels of both IFN-alpha and IFN-beta, whereas during chronic SIV infection only increased IFN-alpha mRNA levels correlated with the level of virus replication in the same tissues. In lymphoid tissues of all SIV-infected monkeys, higher viral RNA levels were associated with increased Mx mRNA levels. We found no evidence that monkeys with increased Mx mRNA levels in lymphoid tissues had enhanced control of virus replication. In fact, Mx mRNA levels were associated with high viral RNA levels in lymphoid tissues of chronically infected animals.

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