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Curr HIV/AIDS Rep. 2010 Feb;7(1):28-36. doi: 10.1007/s11904-009-0034-8.

Where the wild things are: pathogenesis of SIV infection in African nonhuman primate hosts.

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Center for Vaccine Research and Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, 9014 Biomedical Science Tower 3, 3501 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15261-9045, USA.


African nonhuman primates that are natural hosts of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) are generally spared from disease progression. Pathogenic and nonpathogenic SIV infections share some major features: high viral replication, massive acute depletion of mucosal CD4(+) T cells, and partial control of the virus by both adaptive and innate immune responses. A key distinction of natural SIV infections is rapid and active control of immune activation and apoptosis of T cells that contributes to the integrity of mucosal barrier and lack of microbial translocation. This allows partial recovery of CD4(+) T cells and preservation of the function of other immune cell subsets. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the lack of disease in natural hosts for SIV infection will likely provide important clues as to the therapy of HIV-1 infection.

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