Microbial translocation is a cause of systemic immune activation in HIV/SIV infection. In the present study, we found a lower CD8+
T cell activation level in Macaca leonina
(northern pig-tailed macaques, NPMs) than in Macaca mulatta
(Chinese rhesus macaques, ChRMs) during SIVmac239 infection. Furthermore, the levels of plasma LPS-binding protein and soluble CD14 in NPMs were lower than those in ChRMs. Compared with ChRMs, SIV-infected NPMs had lower Chiu scores, representing relatively normal intestinal mucosa. In addition, no obvious damage to the ileum or colon epithelial barrier was observed in either infected or uninfected NPMs, which differed to that found in ChRMs. Furthermore, no significant microbial translocation ( Escherichia coli
) was detected in the colon or ileum of infected or uninfected NPMs, which again differed to that observed in ChRMs. In conclusion, NPMs retained superior intestinal integrity and limited microbial translocation during SIV infection, which may contribute to their lower immune activation compared with ChRMs.