Article

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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