[en] Animals ; Antimetabolites/diagnostic use ; Bromodeoxyuridine/diagnostic use ; CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes/physiology/virology ; Cell Proliferation ; Disease Models, Animal ; HTLV-I Infections/immunology/physiopathology ; Human T-lymphotropic virus 1 ; Leukemia/virology ; Lymphocyte Count ; Male ; Saimiri
[en] Understanding cell dynamics in animal models have implications for therapeutic strategies elaborated against leukemia in human. Quantification of the cell turnover in closely related primate systems is particularly important for rare and aggressive forms of human cancers, such as adult T-cell leukemia. For this purpose, we have measured the death and proliferation rates of the CD4+ T lymphocyte population in squirrel monkeys (Saimiri sciureus) infected by human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1). The kinetics of in vivo bromodeoxyuridine labeling revealed no modulation of the cell turnover in HTLV-1-infected monkeys with normal CD4 cell counts. In contrast, a substantial decrease in the proliferation rate of the CD4+ T population was observed in lymphocytic monkeys (e.g. characterized by excessive proportions of CD4+ T lymphocytes and by the presence of abnormal flower-like cells). Unexpectedly, onset of HTLV-associated leukemia thus occurs in the absence of increased CD4+ T-cell proliferation. This dynamics significantly differs from the generalized activation of the T-cell turnover induced by other primate lymphotropic viruses like HIV and SIV.