Altered balance between Th17 and Th1 cells at mucosal sites predicts AIDS progression in simian immunodeficiency virus-infected macaques

Mucosal Immunol. 2008 Jul;1(4):279-88. doi: 10.1038/mi.2008.14. Epub 2008 May 7.


Loss of CD4(+) T cells in the gut is necessary but not sufficient to cause AIDS in animal models, raising the possibility that a differential loss of CD4(+) T-cell subtypes may be important. We found that CD4(+) T cells that produce interleukin (IL)-17, a recently identified lineage of effector CD4(+) T-helper cells, are infected by SIV(mac251)in vitro and in vivo, and are found at lower frequency at mucosal and systemic sites within a few weeks from infection. In highly viremic animals, Th1 cells predominates over Th17 T cells and the frequency of Th17 cells at mucosal sites is negatively correlated with plasma virus level. Because Th17 cells play a central role in innate and adaptive immune response to extracellular bacteria, our finding may explain the chronic enteropathy in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Thus, therapeutic approaches that reconstitute an adequate balance between Th1 and Th17 may be beneficial in the treatment of HIV infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-17 / immunology*
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Mucous Membrane / immunology*
  • Mucous Membrane / virology
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology*
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / virology
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / immunology
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / physiology*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*
  • Virus Replication / physiology


  • Antigens, Viral
  • Interleukin-17