Saturday, February 19, 2011

New Monkey Study

On one of my previous posts, I mentioned that a protein called APOBEC3 strongly exhibits retroviral replication.  A recent study by Robert Silverman of the Cleveland Clinic confirms this finding.  Five macaque monkeys were infected with XMRV - they showed an initial viremia, subsequently the virus became very difficult to find in the blood, but when the monkeys were sacrificed, the virus could easily be found in the spleen, lungs, lymphoid tissues, and prostate.

Ironically, the same patterns in certain blood cells were noted that exists in a cohort of ME/CFS patients.  Also, the virus shows an initial acute phase, followed by periods of reactivation.  Unfortunately, none of the animals displayed any clinical symptoms.  The plausible explanation is that the length of the study was insufficient, or their immune systems were not presented with a challenge, or there was a lack of a necessary herpesviral co-infection to cause disease.


  1. > Unfortunately, none of the animals displayed any clinical symptoms.

    Hi Dr Luckett,
    I actually take this as a positive sign, as it corresponds with the 3-10% of healthy people who are apparently carrying this infection with no obvious symptoms.

    It seems that XMRV is a very subtle, insidious, slow-growing infection that smoulders away until as you say you get a major immune challenge such as an EBV infection.

    P.S. would it be possible for you to contact me? I was wondering if you would be interested in speaking to a local ME group.
    My email is:
    Many thanks

  2. Can you please provide citations for the studies you are discussing? This would be common courtesy to the reader. Thank you!