The virus-host relationship in simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infected chimpanzees is thought to be different from that found in other SIV infected African primates. However, studies of captive SIVcpz infected chimpanzees are limited. Previously, the natural SIVcpz infection of one chimpanzee, and the experimental infection of six chimpanzees was reported, with limited follow-up. Here, we present a long-term study of these seven animals, with a retrospective re-examination of the early stages of infection. The only clinical signs consistent with AIDS or AIDS associated disease was thrombocytopenia in two cases, associated with the development of anti-platelet antibodies. However, compared to uninfected and HIV-1 infected animals, SIVcpz infected animals had significantly lower levels of peripheral blood CD4+ T-cells. Despite this, levels of T-cell activation in chronic infection were not significantly elevated. In addition, while plasma levels of β2 microglobulin, neopterin and soluble TNF-related apoptosis inducing ligand (sTRAIL) were elevated in acute infection, these markers returned to near-normal levels in chronic infection, reminiscent of immune activation patterns in ‘natural host’ species. Furthermore, plasma soluble CD14 was not elevated in chronic infection. However, examination of the secondary lymphoid environment revealed persistent changes to the lymphoid structure, including follicular hyperplasia in SIVcpz infected animals. In addition, both SIV and HIV-1 infected chimpanzees showed increased levels of deposition of collagen and increased levels of Mx1 expression in the T-cell zones of the lymph node. The outcome of SIVcpz infection of captive chimpanzees therefore shares features of both non-pathogenic and pathogenic lentivirus infections.
Greenwood, E. J. D., Schmidt, F., Kondova, I., Niphuis, H., Hodara, V. L., Clissold, L., … Heeney, J. L. (2015). Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Infection of Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) Shares Features of Both Pathogenic and Non-pathogenic Lentiviral Infections. PLoS Pathogens, 11(9), 1–26. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1005146