Some Monkeys Naturally Resist AIDS, Research
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- A natural mechanism that
may help prevent the development of AIDS in sooty mangabey monkeys
has been discovered by scientists.
Sooty mangabey monkeys are a natural host for the simian
immunodeficiency virus (SIV), but they don't develop AIDS even if
they have a very high viral load. SIV -- a virus that infects
monkeys -- is related to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in
These monkeys may be able to avoid developing AIDS because they
are better at regenerating T cells -- a type of white blood cell
that allows the immune system to fight off microbial invaders.
Specifically, SIV-infected sooty mangabeys maintain effective
levels of CD4+ T cells through rapid regeneration of their pool of
naive CD4+ T cells (mature cells not yet exposed to toxins or other
substances that stimulate the production of antibodies).
The finding may help explain why SIV and HIV lead to AIDS in
other types of monkeys and nonhuman primates and in humans,
according to the researchers at the Yerkes National Primate
Research Center at Emory University in Atlanta.
For this study, the researchers compared sooty mangabeys and
rhesus macaques infected with SIV.
"The results showed that while both species showed a similar extent of CD4+ T cell replenishment, the rhesus macaques regenerated their naive CD4+ T cells more slowly," team leader Mirko Paiardini said in an Emory news release. He also noted that in another primate species, macaques, giving the monkeys new CD4+ T cells heightens the animal's vulnerability to SIV. However, in the sooty mangabey this doesn't happen - in fact, the replenished cells appear to make the monkey "more resistant to SIV infection," Paiardini said.
Paiardini believes the new findings "have increased our
understanding of the immune system and are critical to our
continuing research to determine why some species are more
susceptible than others to infectious diseases."
The U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
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