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Why some primates, but not humans, can live with immunodeficiency viruses and not progress to AIDS
Date:9/16/2008

result in chronic immune activation and significant unintended damage to the immune system in AIDS-susceptible species. Such chronic immune activation is now recognized to be a major driving force for the development of AIDS.

The observation that mangabey dendritic cells are less susceptible to activation by SIV may explain why mangabeys do not exhibit abnormal immune activation and do not develop AIDS. Thus, in mangabeys, the generation of a less vigorous immune response to SIV may represent an effective evolutionary response to a virus that is so resistant to clearance by antiviral immune responses.

The authors suggest new treatment strategies that would steer the immune system away from over-activation, thereby protecting against the unintended damage caused by host immune responses. Such treatment approaches that focus on the host response to the AIDS virus may provide a valuable means of complementing the use of antiretroviral drugs that focus directly on inhibition of virus replication.

Understanding the particular details of Toll-like receptor signaling pathways in the mangabeys may help guide the development of specific therapeutic approaches that could beneficially limit chronic immune activation in HIV-infected humans.

"Better understanding of the biological basis by which sooty mangabeys and the numerous primate species that represent natural hosts for AIDS virus infections have evolved to resist disease promises to teach us a great deal about the emergence of the AIDS pandemic, and about the mechanisms underlying AIDS progression in humans. In addition, such insights will hopefully help inform new approaches to treat HIV infection most effectively." Feinberg says.

"Also, better understanding how natural hosts for SIV remain healthy may provide clues as to the future evolutionary trajectory of human populations in response to the profound selective pressures now being felt in regions of the world where the
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Contact: Holly Korschun
hkorsch@emory.edu
404-727-3990
Emory University
Source:Eurekalert

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