SHIV susceptibility changes during the menstrual cycle of pigtail macaques

Ellen N. Kersh, Tara Henning, Sundaram A. Vishwanathan, Monica Morris, Katherine Butler, Debra R. Adams, Patricia Guenthner, Priya Srinivasan, James Smith, Jessica Radzio, J. Gerardo Garcia-Lerma, Charles Dobard, Walid Heneine, Janet Mcnicholl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Background: Hormonal changes during menstrual cycling may affect susceptibility to HIV. Methods: We determined the simian human immunodeficiency virus (SHIV) acquisition time point in 43 cycling pigtail macaques infected by repeated vaginal virus exposures initiated randomly in the cycle. Results: SHIV infection was first detected in the follicular phase in 38 macaques (88%), and in the luteal phase in five macaques (12%), indicating a statistically significant timing difference. Assuming a 7-day eclipse phase, most infections occurred during or following a high-progesterone period associated with menstruation, vaginal epithelium thinning, and suppressed mucosal immunity. Conclusions: This raises questions whether other high-progesterone conditions (pregnancy, hormonal contraception) similarly affect HIV risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-316
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of medical primatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Veterinary


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