Repeated low-dose mucosal simian immunodeficiency virus SIVmac239 challenge results in the same viral and immunological kinetics as high-dose challenge: a model for the evaluation of vaccine efficacy in nonhuman primates

J Virol. 2004 Mar;78(6):3140-4. doi: 10.1128/jvi.78.6.3140-3144.2004.


Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) challenge of rhesus macaques provides a relevant model for the assessment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine strategies. To ensure that all macaques become infected, the vaccinees and controls are exposed to large doses of pathogenic SIV. These nonphysiological high-dose challenges may adversely affect vaccine evaluation by overwhelming potentially efficacious vaccine responses. To determine whether a more physiologically relevant low-dose challenge can initiate infection and cause disease in Indian rhesus macaques, we used a repeated low-dose challenge strategy designed to reduce the viral inoculum to more physiologically relevant doses. In an attempt to more closely mimic challenge with HIV, we administered repeated mucosal challenges with 30, 300, and 3,000 50% tissue culture infective doses (TCID(50)) of pathogenic SIVmac239 to six animals in three groups. Infection was assessed by sensitive quantitative reverse transcription-PCR and was achieved following a mean of 8, 5.5, and 1 challenge(s) in the 30, 300, and 3,000 TCID(50) groups, respectively. Mortality, humoral immune responses, and peak plasma viral kinetics were similar in five of six animals, regardless of challenge dose. Interestingly, macaques challenged with lower doses of SIVmac239 developed broad T-cell immune responses as assessed by ELISPOT assay. This low-dose repeated challenge may be a valuable tool in the evaluation of potential vaccine regimes and offers a more physiologically relevant regimen for pathogenic SIVmac239 challenge experiments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Vaccines
  • Administration, Rectal
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Humans
  • Macaca mulatta
  • RNA, Viral / blood
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / virology
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / pathogenicity*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • AIDS Vaccines
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • RNA, Viral