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J Infect Dis. 2010 Jul 1;202(1):161-70. doi: 10.1086/653213.

Simian immunodeficiency virus-infected macaques treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy have reduced central nervous system viral replication and inflammation but persistence of viral DNA.

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Department of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.



During the era of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), the prevalence of HIV-associated central nervous system (CNS) disease has increased despite suppression of plasma viremia.


In a simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) model system in which all animals develop AIDS and 90% develop CNS disease by 3 months after inoculation, pigtailed macaques were treated with a regimen of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, saquinavir, atazanavir, and an integrase inhibitor starting at 12 days after inoculation and were euthanized at approximately 175 days after inoculation.


Plasma and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) viral loads declined rapidly after the initiation of HAART. Brain viral RNA was undetectable at necropsy, but viral DNA levels were not different from those in untreated SIV-infected macaques. CNS inflammation was significantly reduced, with decreased brain expression of major histocompatibility complex class II and glial fibrillary acidic protein and reduced levels of CSF CCL2 and interleukin 6. Brain from treated macaques had significantly lower levels of interferon beta, type 1 interferon-inducible gene myxovirus (influenza) resistance A, and indolamine 2,3-dioxygenase messenger RNA, suggesting that immune hyperactivation was suppressed, and fewer CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells, suggesting that trafficking of T cells from peripheral blood was reduced. Brain levels of CD68 protein and tumor necrosis factor alpha and interferon gamma RNA were reduced but were not significantly lower, indicating continued CNS inflammation.


These data, generated in a rigorous, high-viral-load SIV-infected macaque model, showed that HAART provided benefits with respect to CNS viral replication and inflammation but that no change in the level of viral DNA and continued CNS inflammation occurred in some macaques.

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