To analyze the relationship between acute virus-induced injury and the subsequent disease phenotype, we compared the virus replication and CD4+ T-cell profiles for monkeys infected with isogenic highly pathogenic (KS661) and moderately pathogenic (#64) simian-human immunodeficiency viruses (SHIVs). Intrarectal infusion of SHIV-KS661 resulted in rapid, systemic, and massive virus replication, while SHIV-#64 replicated more slowly and reached lower titers. Whereas KS661 systemically depleted CD4+ T cells, #64 caused significant CD4+ T-cell depletion only in the small intestine. We conclude that SHIV, regardless of pathogenicity, can cause injury to the small intestine and leads to CD4+ T-cell depletion in infected animals during acute infection
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