The T-cell tropic retrovirus of macaque monkeys STLV-III has morphologic, growth, and antigenic properties indicating that it is related to HTLV-III/LAV, the etiologic agent of the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in humans. Four of six rhesus monkeys died within 160 days of STLV-III inoculation with a wasting syndrome, opportunistic infections, a primary retroviral encephalitis, and immunologic abnormalities including a decrease in T4+ peripheral blood lymphocytes. These data show that an immunodeficiency syndrome can be produced experimentally in a nonhuman primate by an agent from the HTLV-III/LAV group of retroviruses. The STLV-III-macaque system will thus provide a useful model for the study of antiviral agents and vaccine development for human AIDS.
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