RANTES, a β-chemokine, can suppress human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as well as simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infections in T-lymphocyte cultures in vitro. However, the association of RANTES levels in peripheral blood with viral loads and disease outcome in HIV infection has been inconclusive. SIV-infected rhesus macaques were evaluated to determine whether RANTES gene expression correlated with suppression of viral infection in intestinal lymphoid tissues. Intestinal tissues were obtained from rhesus macaques infected with either pathogenic or nonpathogenic SIVmac variants at various stages of infection (primary acute, asymptomatic, and terminal). We examined the level of SIV infection (in situ hybridization), RANTES expression (quantitative competitive RT-PCR), and T-cell counts (immunohistochemistry). The most pronounced increase in RANTES gene expression in intestinal tissues was observed in primary SIV infection, which correlated with the pathogenicity of the infecting virus and not the tissue viral loads. Our results demonstrated that in contrast to the occurrence of viral suppression by RANTES in vitro, there was no direct correlation between high RANTES gene expression and suppression of viral loads in intestinal lymphoid tissues. Thus RANTES expression in the gut lymphoid tissue may not be a correlate for viral suppression. However, RANTES gene expression in primary SIV infection may be part of early host immune response to viral infection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases