Studies of CD40L expression by lymphoid cells from experimentally and naturally SIV-infected nonhuman primate species

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Dysfunction of T lymphocytes is well documented in HIV-1-infected individuals; however, the mechanisms responsible for the noted dysfunction are not well understood. CD40L is an important costimulatory molecule that helps initiate immune responses, and there is controversy regarding whether or not expression of CD40L is compromised in HIV-1-infected individuals. We have utilized the SIV infection of experimentally infected (disease-susceptible) and naturally infected (disease-resistant) nonhuman primates as animal models of human AIDS to address this issue. Little is known concerning the expression of CD40L in nonhuman primates. Studies were conducted to determine the frequency, density, phenotype, and kinetics of CD40L expression by in vitro activated peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from different species of uninfected and SIV-infected monkeys. Data obtained show marked differences in the density and phenotypic lineage that expresses CD40L in lymphoid cells from the three species examined. However, no detectable differences were noted in the frequency and density of CD40L expression by in vitro activated lymphoid cells from uninfected and SIV-infected disease-susceptible rhesus macaques and seropositive as compared to seronegative disease-resistant sooty mangabeys. These data suggest that phenotypic expression of CD40L is not compromised due to SIV infection.

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