Influence of peak viral load on the extent of CD4+ T-cell depletion in Simian HIV infection

Miles P. Davenport, Lei Zhang, John W. Shiver, Danilo R. Casmiro, Ruy M. Ribeiro, Alan S. Perelson

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31 Citations (Scopus)


Simian HIV (SHIV) infection of macaques with CXCR4 tropic viruses results in early and profound CD4+ T-cell depletion in the first few weeks of infection. Analyzing data from a large study of vaccination and SHIV-89.6P challenge, we observe a strong correlation between peak viral load and the extent of CD4+ T-cell depletion in acute infection, consistent with a simple kinetic model of viral infection of CD4+ T cells. We have modeled the dynamics of the interaction of virus and CD4+ T cells over time to investigate the rate of CD4+ T-cell infection and death. This analysis indicates that up to 80% of CD4+ T cells are infected at peak viremia and that the proportion of CD4+ T cells destroyed is correlated with the peak viral load. The simple relation between viral load and CD4+ T-cell depletion allows prediction of the level of viral control required to prevent CD4+ T-cell depletion in acute SHIV infection. Whether such a simple relation also holds for HIV or simian immunodeficiency virus infections remains to be determined, particularly in the gut and other anatomic sites in which most early T-cell depletion occurs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-265
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • CD4-positive T lymphocytes
  • Mathematic models
  • Pathogenesis
  • Vaccine
  • Viral load
  • Virus-cell interaction

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