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Cell Death Differ. 2005 Aug;12 Suppl 1:979-90.

Apoptosis in SIV infection.

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Unité de Physiopathologie des Infections Lentivirales, Institut Pasteur, Paris, cedex 15, France.


Pathogenic human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection is associated with increased T-cell apoptosis. In marked contrast to HIV infection in humans and SIV infection in macaques, the SIV infection of natural host species is typically nonpathogenic despite high levels of viral replication. In these nonpathogenic primate models, no observation of T-cell apoptosis was observed, suggesting that either SIV is less capable of directly inducing apoptosis in natural hosts (likely as a result of coevolution/coadaptation with the host) or, alternatively, that the indirect T-cell apoptosis plays the key role in determining the HIV-associated T-cell depletion and progression to acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Understanding the molecular and cellular mechanisms responsible for the disease-free equilibrium in natural hosts for SIV infection, including those determining the absence of high levels of T-cell apoptosis, is likely to provide important clues regarding the mechanisms of AIDS pathogenesis in humans.

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