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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2005 Oct;21(10):863-8.

Chronic alcohol consumption results in higher simian immunodeficiency virus replication in mucosally inoculated rhesus macaques.

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Division of Comparative Pathology, Tulane National Primate Research Center, Covington, LA 70433, USA.

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  • AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2006 Aug;22(8):824.


The influence of alcohol consumption on HIV pathogenesis is not well understood. In this study we used the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)/macaque model of HIV infection to study the influence of chronic binge alcohol consumption on SIV infection. Rhesus macaques were fed alcohol or isocaloric amounts of sucrose via indwelling intragastric catheters and then inoculated with SIVmac251 by the rectal route. Real-time RT-PCR for SIV gag mRNA showed significantly higher plasma viral copies in alcohol-consuming macaques at 4 and 6 weeks pi, compared with sucrose controls. The viral copies were 1 to 2 logs higher in these animals. The percentage of CD8+ lymphocytes in the duodenum of alcohol-consuming macaques was significantly lower than in sucrose-consuming macaques both before infection as well as at different time points postinfection. Also, the percentage of CD4(+)CD3+ lymphocytes in the intestines was significantly higher in alcohol-consuming macaques before infection. These findings suggest that a higher percentage of SIV target cells (CD4) in the gut coupled with lower percentages of CD8 cells, which could be important in controlling virus replication, may be responsible for the higher SIV loads observed in alcohol-consuming macaques.

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