In order to test the hypothesis that macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs) in mucosal tissue play an important role in heterosexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus, the replication capacities of two simian immunodeficiency viruses (SIVs) were examined in cultured macrophages and DCs as well as in cultured PBMCs in vitro. The virus strains were a T cell-tropic SIV, SIVmac239, and a T cell- and macrophage-tropic (dual-tropic) SIV, SIVmac239/316E. The infectivities of these viruses to cynomolgus macaques by intravaginal inoculation were also compared. Although both virus strains replicated well in cultured PBMCs, SIVmac239 did not replicate in cultured macrophages, whereas SIVmac239/316E did. Both strains showed little replication in cultured DCs, but a high virus yield could be obtained when SIVmac239/316E-infected DCs were co-cultured with uninfected PBMCs. A mixture of these SIVs was inoculated intravaginally to three monkeys and the virus strain that first appeared through the vaginal mucosa was determined. The virus clones detected first in PBMCs, inguinal lymph nodes and vaginal wash cells (VWCs) after the virus inoculation were of SIVmac239 in all cases, except for one clone of SIVmac239/316E in VWCs of one monkey at one time-point. These results show that the infectivity of the virus in intravaginal transmission did not depend on the cell tropism in vitro of the virus.


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