We intrarectally infected newborn macaques with a pathogenic simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) that induced rapid and profound CD4+ T cell depletion, and examined the early effects of this SHIV on the thymus. After intrarectal infection, viral loads were much higher in the thymus than in other lymphoid tissues in newborns. In contrast, no clear difference was seen in the viral loads of different tissues in adults. Histological and immunohistochemical observations showed severe thymic involution. Depletion of CD4+ thymocytes began in the medulla at 2 weeks post infection and spread over the whole thymus. After in vivo infection, the CD2+ subpopulation, which represents a relatively later stage of T cell progenitors, was selectively reduced and development of thymocytes from CD3-CD4 -CD8- cells to CD4+CD8+ cells was impaired. These results suggest that profound and irreversible loss of CD4 + cells that are observed in the peripheral blood of SHIV-infected monkeys are due to destruction of the thymus and impaired thymopoiesis as a result of SHIV infection in the thymus.
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||MICROBIOLOGY and IMMUNOLOGY|
|Publication status||Published - 2005|
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