Human herpesvirus 6A accelerates AIDS progression in macaques.

Unit of Human Virology, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, 20132 Milan, Italy.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 04/2007; 104(12):5067-72. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0700929104
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Although HIV is the necessary and sufficient causative agent of AIDS, genetic and environmental factors markedly influence the pace of disease progression. Clinical and experimental evidence suggests that human herpesvirus 6A (HHV-6A), a cytopathic T-lymphotropic DNA virus, fosters the progression to AIDS in synergy with HIV-1. In this study, we investigated the effect of coinfection with HHV-6A on the progression of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) disease in pig-tailed macaques (Macaca nemestrina). Inoculation of HHV-6A resulted in a rapid appearance of plasma viremia associated with transient clinical manifestations and followed by antibody seroconversion, indicating that this primate species is susceptible to HHV-6A infection. Whereas animals infected with HHV-6A alone did not show any long-term clinical and immunological sequelae, a progressive loss of CD4(+) T cells was observed in all of the macaques inoculated with SIV. However, progression to full-blown AIDS was dramatically accelerated by coinfection with HHV-6A. Rapid disease development in dually infected animals was heralded by an early depletion of both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells. These results provide in vivo evidence that HHV-6A may act as a promoting factor in AIDS progression.

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    ABSTRACT: Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) is widely spread in the human population and has been associated with several neuroinflammatory diseases, including multiple sclerosis. To develop a small-animal model of HHV-6 infection, we analyzed the susceptibility of several lines of transgenic mice expressing human CD46, identified as a receptor for HHV-6. We showed that HHV-6A (GS) infection results in the expression of viral transcripts in primary brain glial cultures from CD46-expressing mice, while HHV-6B (Z29) infection was inefficient. HHV-6A DNA persisted for up to 9 months in the brain of CD46-expressing mice but not in the nontransgenic littermates, whereas HHV-6B DNA levels decreased rapidly after infection in all mice. Persistence in the brain was observed with infectious but not heat-inactivated HHV-6A. Immunohistological studies revealed the presence of infiltrating lymphocytes in periventricular areas of the brain of HHV-6A-infected mice. Furthermore, HHV-6A stimulated the production of a panel of proinflammatory chemokines in primary brain glial cultures, including CCL2, CCL5, and CXCL10, and induced the expression of CCL5 in the brains of HHV-6A-infected mice. HHV-6A-induced production of chemokines in the primary glial cultures was dependent on the stimulation of toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9). Finally, HHV-6A induced signaling through human TLR9 as well, extending observations from the murine model to human infection. Altogether, this study presents a first murine model for HHV-6A-induced brain infection and suggests a role for TLR9 in the HHV-6A-initiated production of proinflammatory chemokines in the brain, opening novel perspectives for the study of virus-associated neuropathology.
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    ABSTRACT: Progress in the identification of suitable animal models for human herpesvirus (HHV)-6A and HHV-6B infections has been slow. Recently, new models have been established, mainly for HHV-6A, which reproduce some pathological features seen in humans. Neuroinflammatory signs were observed in infected marmosets and CD46-transgenic mice; although viral replication was not prominent, persistence of viral DNA and specific immunologic responses were detected, suggesting an immune-mediated pathogenic mechanism. Pig-tailed macaques showed robust viral replication concomitant with acute-phase symptoms, and provided a model to study the effects of HHV-6A on AIDS progression. In humanized mice, viral replication was less evident, but infection led to T-cell alterations. Altogether, these recent developments have opened new perspectives for studying the pathogenic role of HHV-6A in humans. Published by Elsevier B.V.
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