Gene expression profiling of gut mucosa and mesenteric lymph nodes in simian immunodeficiency virus-infected macaques with divergent disease course

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Abstract

Background

Although the majority of drug-naïve HIV-infected patients develop acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a small percentage remains asymptomatic without therapeutic intervention.

Methods

We have utilized the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected rhesus macaque model to gain insights into the molecular mechanisms of long-term protection against simian AIDS.

Results

Chronically SIV-infected macaques with disease progression had high viral loads and CD4+ T-cell depletion in mucosal tissue and peripheral blood. These animals displayed pathologic changes in gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT) and mesenteric lymph node that coincided with increased expression of genes associated with interferon induction, inflammation and immune activation. In contrast, the animal with long-term asymptomatic infection suppressed viral replication and maintained CD4+ T cells in both GALT and peripheral blood while decreasing expression of genes involved in inflammation and immune activation.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that reduced immune activation and effective repair and regeneration of mucosal tissues correlate with long-term survival in SIV-infected macaques.

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