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Studies of lentivirus infection in ruminants, nonhuman primates, and humans suggest that virus infection of macrophages plays a central role in the disease process. To investigate whether human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) can infect chimpanzee macrophages, we recovered monocytes from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of HIV-1-negative animals and inoculated these and control human monocytes with a panel of four human-passaged monocytotropic virus strains and one chimpanzee-passaged isolate. HIV-1-infected human monocytes synthesized proviral DNA, viral mRNA, p24 antigen, and progeny virions. In contrast, except for the chimpanzee-passaged HIV-1 isolate, chimpanzee monocytes failed to support HIV-1 replication when cultured under both identical and a variety of other conditions. Proviral DNA was demonstrated only at background levels in these cell cultures by polymerase chain reaction for gag- and env-related sequences. Interestingly, the chimpanzee-passaged HIV-1 isolate did not replicate in human monocytes; viral p24 antigens and progeny virions were not detected. The same monocytotropic panel of HIV-1 strains replicated in both human and chimpanzee CD4+ T lymphoblasts treated with phytohemagglutinin and interleukind. The failure of HIV-1 to infect chimpanzee monocytes, which can be overcome by serial in vivo viral passage, occurs through a block early in the viral life cycle.