Rodent Models of HAND and Drug Abuse: Exogenous Administration of Viral Protein(s) and Cocaine
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- Yao, H. & Buch, S. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol (2012) 7: 341. doi:10.1007/s11481-012-9355-2
Humans and chimpanzees are the natural hosts for HIV. Non-human primate models of SIV/SHIV infection in rhesus, cynomologus and pigtail macaques have been used extensively as excellent model systems for pathogenesis and vaccine studies. However, owing to the variability of disease progression in infected macaques, a phenomenon identical to humans, coupled with their prohibitive costs, there exists a critical need for the development of small-animal models in which to study the untoward effects of HIV-1 infection. Owing to the fact that rodents are not the natural permissive hosts for lentiviral infection, development of small animal models for studying virus infection has used strategies that circumvent the steps of viral entry and infection. Such strategies involve overexpression of toxic viral proteins, SCID mice engrafted with the human PBLs or macrophages, and EcoHIV chimeric virus wherein the gp120 of HIV-1 was replaced with the gp80 of the ecotropic murine leukemia virus. Additional strategy that is often used by investigators to study the toxic effect of viral proteins involves direct stereotactic injection of the viral protein(s) into specific brain regions. The present report is a compilation of the applications of direct administration of Tat into the striatum to mimic the effects of the viral neurotoxin in the CNS. Added advantage of this model is that it is also amenable to repeated intraperitoneal cocaine injections, thereby allowing the study of the additive/synergistic effects of both the viral protein and cocaine. Such a model system recapitulates aspects of HAND in the context of drug abuse.