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In order to test the hypothesis that CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes mediate protection against acute superinfection, we depleted >99% of CD8+ lymphocytes in live attenuated simian immunodeficiency virus macC8 (SIVmacC8) vaccinees from the onset of vaccination, maintained that depletion for 20 days, and then challenged with pathogenic, wild-type SIVmacJ5. Vaccinees received 5 mg per kg of humanized anti-CD8 monoclonal antibody (MAb) 1 h before inoculation, followed by the same dose again on days 3, 7, 10, 13, and 17. On day 13, peripheral CD8+ T lymphocytes were >99% depleted in three out of four anti-CD8 MAb-treated vaccinees. At this time attenuated SIVmacC8 viral RNA loads in anti-CD8 MAb-treated vaccinees were significantly higher than control vaccinees treated contemporaneously with nonspecific human immunoglobulin. Lymphoid tissue CD8+ T lymphocyte depletion was >99% in three out of four anti-CD8 MAb-treated vaccinees on the day of wild-type SIVmacJ5 challenge. All four control vaccinees and three out of four anti-CD8 MAb-treated vaccinees were protected against detectable superinfection with wild-type SIVmacJ5. Although superinfection with wild-type SIVmacJ5 was detected at postmortem in a single anti-CD8 MAb-treated vaccinee, this did not correlate with the degree of preceding CD8+ T lymphocyte depletion. Clearance of attenuated SIVmacC8 viremia coincided with recovery of normal CD8+ T lymphocyte counts between days 48 and 76. These results support the view that cytotoxic T lymphocytes are important for host-mediated control of SIV primary viremia but do not indicate a central role in protection against acute superinfection conferred by inoculation with live attenuated SIV.

Original publication




Journal article


J Virol

Publication Date





12264 - 12272


Animals, Antibodies, Viral, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Lymphocyte Count, Lymphocyte Depletion, Macaca fascicularis, RNA, Viral, SAIDS Vaccines, Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, Simian Immunodeficiency Virus, Superinfection, Time Factors, Vaccines, Attenuated, Viral Load, Viremia