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Mucosal Immunol. 2008 May;1(3):219-28. doi: 10.1038/mi.2008.6. Epub 2008 Mar 5.

Protective attenuated lentivirus immunization induces SIV-specific T cells in the genital tract of rhesus monkeys.

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  • 1Center for Comparative Medicine, University of California, Davis, California, USA.


Live attenuated lentivirus immunization is the only vaccine strategy that elicits consistent protection against intravaginal challenge with pathogenic simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). To determine the mechanism of protection in rhesus monkeys infected with attenuated simian-human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV)89.6, a detailed analysis of SIV Gag-specific T-cell responses in several tissues including the genital tract was performed. Six months after SHIV infection, antiviral T-cell responses were rare in the cervix; however, polyfunctional, cytokine-secreting, and degranulating SIV Gag-specific CD4(+) T cells were consistently found in the vagina of the immunized macaques. SIV-specific CD8(+) T cells were also detected in the vagina, blood, and genital lymph nodes of most of the animals. Thus, an attenuated SHIV vaccine induces persistent antiviral T cells in tissues, including the vagina, where these effector T-cell responses may mediate the consistent protection from vaginal SIV challenge observed in this model.

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