RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
The relative resistance of HIV type 1-infected chimpanzees to AIDS correlates with the maintenance of follicular architecture and the absence of infiltration by CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes.
Lymphoid tissues are the focus of critical events in HIV pathogenesis. Persistent and high levels of virus production, extensive trapping of virus particles in germinal centers, and progressive degenerative changes in lymph node architecture are characteristics of progressive HIV-1 infection. Infiltrates of granzyme B- and TIA-expressing CD8+ "cytotoxic" T lymphocytes (CTLs) precede involution of germinal centers in humans who develop AIDS. Similar to humans, HIV-1 infection in chimpanzees is active and persistent. However, in contrast to humans, they remain relatively resistant to AIDS. Lymph node biopsies from chimpanzees infected with HIV-1 or a related chimpanzee lentivirus were studied for the level and pattern of virus expression, changes in lymphoid architecture, CD8+ T cell infiltrates and the presence or absence of CTL markers. In stark contrast to HIV-1-infected humans, lymph nodes from infected chimpanzees had little virus deposition in germinal centers and a paucity of virus-expressing cells. Although some of the lymph nodes examined from infected animals had moderate follicular hyperplasia with infiltrating CD8+ T cells, none had evidence of follicular fragmentation. Most importantly, in marked contrast to infected humans, CD8+ T cells infiltrating the germinal center were negative for the CTL marker granzyme B. This evidence suggests that the infiltration of CD8+ CTLs into the germinal centers of lymph nodes may be a key determinant in AIDS pathogenesis.
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