Cytokines and chemokines are critical for establishing tissue-specific immune responses and play key roles in modulating disease progression in simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected macaques and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected humans. The goal here was to characterize the innate immune response at different tissue sites and to correlate these responses to clinical outcome, initially focusing on rhesus macaques orally inoculated with SIV and monitored until onset of simian AIDS. Cytokine and chemokine mRNA transcripts were assessed at lymph nodes (LN) and peripheral blood cells utilizing quantitative real-time PCR at different time points postinfection. The mRNA expression of four immune modulators-alpha interferon (IFN-alpha), oligoadenylate synthetase (OAS), CXCL9, and CXCL10-was positively associated with disease progression within LN tissue. Elevated cytokine/chemokine expression in LN did not result in any observed beneficial outcome since the numbers of CXCR3(+) cells were not increased, nor were the SIV RNA levels decreased. In peripheral blood, increased OAS and CXCL10 expression were elevated in SIV(+) monkeys that progress the fastest to simian AIDS. Our results indicate that higher IFN-alpha, OAS, CXCL9, and CXCL10 mRNA expression in LN was associated with rapid disease progression and a LN environment that may favor SIV replication. Furthermore, higher expression of CXCL10 and OAS in peripheral blood could potentially serve as a diagnostic marker for hosts that are likely to progress to AIDS. Understanding the expression patterns of key innate immune modulators will be useful in assessing the disease state and potential rates of disease progression in HIV(+) patients, which could lead to novel therapy and vaccine approaches.