Where the wild things are: pathogenesis of SIV infection in African nonhuman primate hosts

Curr HIV/AIDS Rep. 2010 Feb;7(1):28-36. doi: 10.1007/s11904-009-0034-8.


African nonhuman primates that are natural hosts of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) are generally spared from disease progression. Pathogenic and nonpathogenic SIV infections share some major features: high viral replication, massive acute depletion of mucosal CD4(+) T cells, and partial control of the virus by both adaptive and innate immune responses. A key distinction of natural SIV infections is rapid and active control of immune activation and apoptosis of T cells that contributes to the integrity of mucosal barrier and lack of microbial translocation. This allows partial recovery of CD4(+) T cells and preservation of the function of other immune cell subsets. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the lack of disease in natural hosts for SIV infection will likely provide important clues as to the therapy of HIV-1 infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunity, Mucosal
  • Primates / immunology*
  • Primates / virology
  • Receptors, CCR5 / immunology
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology*
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / transmission
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / virology
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / immunology*
  • Virus Replication


  • Receptors, CCR5