Perforin-mediated cytotoxicity is a major effector function of virus-specific CD8 T cells. We have investigated the expression of perform in the gut, an important site of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) pathogenesis, during experimental SIV infection of rhesus macaques. We observed significant increases in perforin protein and mRNA expression levels in the colons of SIV-infected macaques as early as 21 days after infection. However, during chronic infection, despite ongoing viral replication, perforin expression returned to levels similar to those detected in SIV-naïve animals. These findings demonstrate the presence of a robust perforin-positive response in gastrointestinal CD8 T cells during acute, but not chronic, SIV infection.
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