Gastrointestinal epithelium is an early extrathymic site for increased prevalence of CD34+ progenitor cells in contrast to the thymus during primary simian immunodeficiency virus infection

Joseph J. Mattapallil, Zeljka McBride, Satya Dandekar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


The objective of this study was to determine the effects of primary simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection on the prevalence and phenotype of progenitor cells present in the gastrointestinal epithelia of SIV-infected rhesus macaques, a primate model for human immunodeficiency virus pathogenesis. The gastrointestinal epithelium was residence to progenitor cells expressing CD34 antigen, a subset of which also coexpressed Thy-1 and c-kit receptors, suggesting that the CD34+ population in the intestine comprised a subpopulation of primitive precursors. Following experimental SIVmac251 infection, an early increase in the proportions of CD34+ Thy-1+ and CD34+ c-kit+ progenitor cells was observed in the gastrointestinal epithelium. In contrast, the proportion of CD34+ cells in the thymus declined during primary SIV infection, which was characterized by a decrease in the frequency of CD34+ Thy-1+ progenitor cells. A severe depletion in the frequency of CD4-committed CD34+ progenitors was observed in the gastrointestinal epithelium 2 weeks after SIV infection which persisted even 4 weeks after infection. A coincident increase in the frequency of CD8- committed CD34+ progenitor cells was observed during primary SIV infection. These results indicate that in contrast to the primary lymphoid organs such as the thymus, the gastrointestinal epithelium may be an early extrathymic site for the increased prevalence of both primitive and committed CD34+ progenitor cells. The gastrointestinal epithelium may potentially play an important role in maintaining T-cell homeostasis in the intestinal mucosa during primary SIV infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4518-4523
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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