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High Viral Load In Lymph Nodes And Latent Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) In Peripheral Blood Cells Of HIV-1-infected Chimpanzees

K Saksela, E Muchmore, M Girard, P Fultz, D Baltimore

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We have examined human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection in chimpanzees by analyzing HIV-1 DNA and RNA in lymph nodes and peripheral mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Like certain asymptomatic HIV-infected persons, these chimpanzees had no detectable viral replication in their PBMCs. However, viral replication and a high viral load were observed in the lymphatic tissue. Despite the absence of viral replication in PBMCs, 1/1,000 to 1/10,000 of the PBMCs contained HIV-1 proviral DNA, and HIV transcription could be rapidly induced in these cells in vitro. These results provide direct evidence of cellular latency of HIV in vivo and suggest that HIV infection in chimpanzees may be a useful model for clinical latency of HIV infection in humans.