Department of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases Pathology, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, American Registry of Pathology, Department of Transfusion Medicine, Warren Grant Magnuson Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, Washington, DC
Four silvered leaf monkeys, inoculated with a virus-like infectious agent (VLIA) derived from transformed NIH/3T3 cells (sb51) transfected with Kaposi's sarcoma DNA of an AIDS patient, showed wasting syndromes and died in 7–9 months. Two monkeys had a transient lymphadenopathy in earlier stages. Two moribund animals showed lymphopenia. Although 3 of the VLIA inoculated monkeys had persistent low grade fever early in the infection, the animals became afebrile in the later stages. One VLIA inoculated animal had a prominent antibody response, which occurred 7 months after VLIA inoculation. The other 3 monkeys had a transient or poor antibody response in the later stages. These 3 animals revealed periodic VLIA antigenemia during the course of the experiment. A control monkey was killed 8 months after the last VLIA inoculated monkey succumbed and showed neither an antibody response nor evidence of antigenemia. VLIA-specific DNA could be directly detected in necropsy tissues of all 4 monkeys inoculated with VLIA using the polymerase chain reaction method. VLIA infection was identified in all 4 spleens, 2 of 4 livers, 1 of 2 kidneys, and all 3 brains tested from these 4 animals, but not in the tissues from the control monkey. The necropsy examination of the 4 VLIA inoculated animals revealed no opportunistic infections, acute inflammatory lesions, malignancy or cause of death other than VLIA infection. We believe that the VLIA caused a fatal systemic infection in these monkeys.