Spatial Learning and Memory in HIV-1 Transgenic rats
Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, 2(4), 319- 328, June 2007
Michael Vigorito, Ph.D.
Department of Psychology
A.L. Lashomb and S.L. Chang
HIV-1 infection of the central nervous system impairs neural, cognitive and behavioral functioning in patients despite antiretroviral therapy. However, studying mechanisms underlying HIV-1-related neurological and cognitive dysfunction has been limited without an adequate animal model. A novel, noninfectious HIV-1 transgenic (HIV-1Tg) rat model was recently created that expresses an HIV-1 provirus with a deletion of functional gag and pol genes. This HIV-1Tg rat reportedly develops clinical manifestations of human HIV disease and thus appears to mimic the persistent infection that results from the presence of HIV viral proteins in the host. We evaluated the HIV-1Tg rat model using the Morris water maze, a popular paradigm for testing learning and memory deficits in rodents.