Direct relationship between suppression of virus-specific immunity and emergence of cytomegalovirus disease in simian AIDS

Amitinder Kaur, Nadine Kassis, Corrina L. Hale, Meredith Simon, Michelle Elliott, Alicia Gomez-Yafal, Jeffrey D. Lifson, Ronald C. Desrosiers, Fred Wang, Peter A Barry, Michael Mach, R. Paul Johnson

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61 Scopus citations


Although opportunistic infections like cytomegalovirus (CMV) are common sequelae of end-stage AIDS, the immune events leading to CMV reactivation in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected individuals are not well defined. The role of cellular and humoral CMV-specific immune responses in immune control of latent CMV infection was evaluated prospectively in a cohort of 11 simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected CMV-seropositive rhesus macaques, 6 of whom had histologic evidence of CMV disease at death. Macaques with CMV disease differed from macaques without CMV disease in having significantly higher levels of plasma SIV RNA and CMV DNA and significantly lower titers of anti-CMV binding antibodies (Abs) at the time of death. A significant decline in anti-CMV Abs and CMV-specific CD4+ and CD8+ T lymphocytes over time was observed in the macaques with CMV disease, but not in the macaques without CMV disease. Reduction in CMV-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes and anti-CMV neutralizing Abs was significantly correlated with a decline in CMV-specific CD4+ T lymphocytes. Although declines in CMV-specific T lymphocytes alone were sufficient for reactivation of low-level CMV viremia, high-level viremia (>1,000 copies of CMV DNA per ml of plasma) was observed when anti-CMV neutralizing and binding Abs had also declined. Thus, the occurrence of CMV reactivation-associated disease in AIDS is associated with suppression of both cellular and humoral CMV-specific immune responses. The underlying mechanism may be a dysfunction of memory B and CD8+ T lymphocytes associated with SIV-induced impairment of CMV-specific CD4+ T-cell help.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5749-5758
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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