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AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses. 2010 Apr;26(4):433-43. doi: 10.1089/aid.2009.0185.

Depo-Provera does not alter disease progression in SIVmac-infected female Chinese rhesus macaques.

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BIOQUAL, Inc., Rockville, Maryland, USA.


Depo-Provera (medroxyprogesterone acetate), a long-acting derivative of progesterone, is utilized during many nonhuman primate microbicide studies to facilitate simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection by thinning the vaginal epithelium. To date, the systemic effects of this steroid hormone in regard to SIV/HIV pathogenesis are not well understood, but an increase in infection rates and lymphoproliferation following progesterone application has been reported. Therefore, a proactive study using 20 Chinese rhesus macaques was designed to investigate the effect of a single Depo-Provera injection on SIV disease progression. Group 1 (n = 10) was treated with 30 mg Depo-Provera intramuscularly 30 days prior to intravenous challenge with 50 TCID(50) SIVmac251, while Group 2 (n = 10) remained untreated, but received the same amount of SIV. Blood samples were taken at predetermined intervals to measure RNA viral loads, CD4(+), CD8(+), and CD20(+) lymphocyte counts and percentages and absolute numbers of naive and memory T lymphocytes. Upon statistical endpoint data analysis, none of the parameters measured were shown to be significantly different between the groups. One animal in the Depo-Provera-treated group and two macaques in the control group were euthanized prior to study end due to the development of clinical signs (in weeks 43 and 51, respectively). All other animals were euthanized between weeks 68 and 71 post-SIV infection. Histopathological evaluations revealed that 5 of 10 animals in each group had developed simian AIDS (SAIDS). In summary, this prospective study demonstrated that a single injection of 30 mg Depo-Provera did not have a significant influence on SIV disease progression.

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