The pathogenic properties of four primary human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2) isolates and two primary HIV-2 biological clones were studied in an human-to-mouse chimeric model. The cell-associated viral load and the ability to reduce the severity of the induced graft-versus-host disease symptoms, the CD4/CD8 ratio and the level of repopulation of the mouse tissues by the graft, were determined. All HIV-2 strains, irrespective of their biological phenotype, replicated to high titres and significantly reduced graft-versus-host disease symptoms as well as the CD4/CD8 ratios. Reduction of graft repopulation caused by infection with the respective HIV-2 strains showed that the replication rate, syncytium-inducing capacity and ability to infect human macrophages did influence the pathogenic potential whereas broadening of coreceptor usage did not.


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