Nonhuman Primate Models for Cell-Associated Simian Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission: The Need to Better Understand the Complexity of HIV Mucosal Transmission

Bernard-Stoecklin, Sibylle; Gommet, Céline; Cavarelli, Mariangela; Le Grand, Roger
December 2014
Journal of Infectious Diseases;Dec2014, Vol. 210 Issue suppl_3, pS660
Academic Journal
Nonhuman primates are extensively used to assess strategies to prevent infection from sexual exposure to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and to study mechanisms of mucosal transmission. However, although semen represents one of the most important vehicles for the virus, the vast majority of preclinical challenge studies have used cell-free simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) or simian/human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) viral particles inoculated as diluted culture supernatants. Semen is a complex body fluid containing many factors that may facilitate or decrease HIV infectiousness. The virus in semen is present in different forms: as free virus particles or as cell-associated virus (ie, within infected leukocytes). Although cell-to-cell transmission of HIV is highly efficient, the role of cell-associated virus in semen has been surprisingly poorly investigated in nonhuman primate models. Mucosal exposure of macaques to cell-associated SIV by using infected peripheral blood mononuclear cells or spleen cells has been shown to be an efficient means of infection; however, it has yet to be shown that SIV- or SHIV-infected seminal leukocytes can transmit infection in vivo. Improvement of animal models to better recapitulate the complex microenvironment at portals of HIV entry is needed for testing candidate antiretrovirals, microbicides, and vaccines.


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