Viruses Gone Haywire

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Science  02 Nov 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6107, pp. 582
DOI: 10.1126/science.338.6107.582-d

One of the hallmarks of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in people or pathogenic simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infection in nonhuman primates is intestinal pathology. Such enteropathy causes breakdown of the intestinal barrier and is thought to result in the leakage of microbial constituents into wider circulation that then drive immune activation and worsening of disease. Whether enteropathy is a direct effect of HIV or SIV infection, however, has not been established. Handley et al. used next-generation sequencing, viral culture, and polymerase chain reaction testing to show that pathogenic SIV infection in two independent cohorts of rhesus macaques was associated with an expansion of the intestinal virome (gut-associated viral genomes). Such an expansion was not seen in nonpathogenically SIV-infected African green monkeys. The expanded virome included several previously undescribed viruses as well as adenoviruses. Adenovirus-associated enteritis was observed in some pathogenic SIV-infected animals. Furthermore, parvovirus viremia was associated with advanced AIDS. These findings suggest that an expanded range of viruses within the infected individual rather than SIV/HIV infection itself may cause SIV/HIV-associated enteropathy.

Cell 151, 253 (2012).

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