The AIDS-like disease in rhesus monkeys induced by the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) has been used as a model to explore the nature of the T lymphocyte response after infection with viruses of the human immunodeficiency virus family. Activated CD8+ lymphocytes are present in increased numbers in the paracortex of lymph nodes of SIV-infected rhesus monkeys with a lymphadenopathy syndrome. We demonstrate that SIV is more readily isolated from CD8+ lymphocyte-depleted PBL of SIV-infected animals than from their unfractionated PBL. Rather than reflecting the fact that the CD8+ lymphocyte-depleted cell populations are simply enriched for CD4+ lymphocytes, this indicates that CD8+ cells themselves are critical in this regulatory interaction. In fact, CD8+ lymphocytes from SIV-infected but not uninfected rhesus monkeys can block SIV replication in vitro in PBL populations. A T lymphocyte population that blocks replication of viruses of the HIV family may contribute to containing the progression of AIDS.

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