Rapid Infection of Oral Mucosal-Associated Lymphoid Tissue with Simian Immunodeficiency Virus

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Science  20 Aug 1999:
Vol. 285, Issue 5431, pp. 1261-1265
DOI: 10.1126/science.285.5431.1261

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The early events during infection with an immunodeficiency virus were followed by application of pathogenic simian immunodeficiency virus atraumatically to the tonsils of macaques. Analyses by virologic assays and in situ hybridization revealed that the infection started locally in the tonsils, a mucosal-associated lymphoid organ, and quickly spread to other lymphoid tissues. At day 3, there were few infected cells, but then the number increased rapidly, reaching a high plateau between days 4 and 7. The infection was not detected in the dendritic cell–rich squamous epithelium to which the virus was applied; instead, it was primarily in CD4+ tonsillar T cells, close to the specialized antigen-transporting epithelium of the tonsillar crypts. Transport of the virus and immune-activating stimuli across this epithelium would allow mucosal lymphoid tissue to function in the atraumatic transmission of immunodeficiency viruses.

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