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J Virol. 2006 May;80(10):4858-67.

Simian immunodeficiency virus SIVagm.sab infection of Caribbean African green monkeys: a new model for the study of SIV pathogenesis in natural hosts.

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  • 1Tulane National Primate Research Center, Covington, LA 70433, USA.


Caribbean-born African green monkeys (AGMs) were classified as Chlorocebus sabaeus by cytochrome b sequencing. Guided by these phylogenetic analyses, we developed a new model for the study of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection in natural hosts by inoculating Caribbean AGMs with their species-specific SIVagm.sab. SIVagm.sab replicated efficiently in Caribbean AGM peripheral blood mononuclear cells in vitro. During SIVagm.sab primary infection of six Caribbean AGMs, the virus replicated at high levels, with peak viral loads (VLs) of 10(7) to 10(8) copies/ml occurring by day 8 to 10 postinfection (p.i.). Set-point values of up to 2 x 10(5) copies/ml were reached by day 42 p.i. and maintained throughout follow-up (through day 450 p.i.). CD4(+) T-cell counts in the blood showed a transient depletion at the peak of VL, and then returned to near preinfection values by day 28 p.i. and remained relatively stable during the chronic infection. Preservation of CD4 T cells was also found in lymph nodes (LNs) of chronic SIVagm.sab-infected Caribbean AGMs. No activation of CD4(+) T cells was detected in the periphery in SIV-infected Caribbean AGMs. These virological and immunological profiles from peripheral blood and LNs were identical to those previously reported in African-born AGMs infected with the same viral strain (SIVagm.sab92018). Due to these similarities, we conclude that Caribbean AGMs are a useful alternative to AGMs of African origin as a model for the study of SIV infection in natural African hosts.

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