Increased mortality and AIDS-like immunopathology in wild chimpanzees infected with SIVcpz.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

African primates are naturally infected with over 40 different simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs), two of which have crossed the species barrier and generated human immunodeficiency virus types 1 and 2 (HIV-1 and HIV-2). Unlike the human viruses, however, SIVs do not generally cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in their natural hosts. Here we show that SIVcpz, the immediate precursor of HIV-1, is pathogenic in free-ranging chimpanzees. By following 94 members of two habituated chimpanzee communities in Gombe National Park, Tanzania, for over 9 years, we found a 10- to 16-fold higher age-corrected death hazard for SIVcpz-infected (n = 17) compared to uninfected (n = 77) chimpanzees. We also found that SIVcpz-infected females were less likely to give birth and had a higher infant mortality rate than uninfected females. Immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization of post-mortem spleen and lymph node samples from three infected and two uninfected chimpanzees revealed significant CD4(+) T-cell depletion in all infected individuals, with evidence of high viral replication and extensive follicular dendritic cell virus trapping in one of them. One female, who died within 3 years of acquiring SIVcpz, had histopathological findings consistent with end-stage AIDS. These results indicate that SIVcpz, like HIV-1, is associated with progressive CD4(+) T-cell loss, lymphatic tissue destruction and premature death. These findings challenge the prevailing view that all natural SIV infections are non-pathogenic and suggest that SIVcpz has a substantial negative impact on the health, reproduction and lifespan of chimpanzees in the wild.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Keele, BF; Jones, JH; Terio, KA; Estes, JD; Rudicell, RS; Wilson, ML; Li, Y; Learn, GH; Beasley, TM; Schumacher-Stankey, J; Wroblewski, E; Mosser, A; Raphael, J; Kamenya, S; Lonsdorf, EV; Travis, DA; Mlengeya, T; Kinsel, MJ; Else, JG; Silvestri, G; Goodall, J; Sharp, PM; Shaw, GM; Pusey, AE; Hahn, BH

Published Date

  • July 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 460 / 7254

Start / End Page

  • 515 - 519

PubMed ID

  • 19626114

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2872475

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1476-4687

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0028-0836

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/nature08200


  • eng