The quantitative and phenotypic changes of peripheral blood monocytes during the acute stage of simian immunodeficiency virus infection were investigated. We inoculated intravenously three cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) with 100 TCID50 of SIVmac239 and collected whole blood twice a week until 35 days postinoculation. We found that the relative number of monocytes in peripheral blood leukocytes significantly increased at 7-17 days postinoculation. This increase was concomitant with the peak of primary SIV antigenemia. To determine if the monocytes observed during the acute stage were phenotypically altered, they were periodically examined for the expression of surface markers (i.e., CD11b, CD14, CD16, CD29, D32, CD56, CD62L, CD64, CD80, and MHC-II-DR) by flow cytometry. The results showed that the expression levels of CD14 and CD56 on most of the monocytes were remarkably reduced at 7-17 days postinoculation, and a new subpopulation, CD14lowCD16+CD80+ monocytes, was clearly detected at 10 days postinoculation. These results indicate that the phenotypic alteration of peripheral blood monocytes occurs during the primary SIV infection.