Humanized mouse models for HIV-1 infection of the CNS

J Neurovirol. 2015 Jun;21(3):301-9. doi: 10.1007/s13365-014-0299-6. Epub 2014 Nov 4.


Since the onset of the HIV epidemic, there has been a shift from a deadly diagnosis to the management of a chronic disease. This shift is the result of the development of highly effective drugs that are able to suppress viral replication for years. The availability of these regimens has also shifted the neurocognitive pathology associated with infection from potentially devastating to a much milder phenotype. As the disease outcome has changed significantly with the availability of antiretroviral therapy, there is an opportunity to re-evaluate the currently available models to address the neurocognitive pathology seen in suppressed patients. In the following, we seek to summarize the current literature on humanized mouse models and their utility in understanding how HIV infection leads to changes in the central nervous system (CNS). Also, we identify some of the unanswered questions regarding HIV infection of the CNS as well as the opportunities and limitations of currently existing models to address those questions. Finally, our conclusions indicate that the earlier humanized models used to study HIV infection in the CNS provided an excellent foundation for the type of work currently being performed using novel humanized mouse models. We also indicate the potential of some humanized mouse models that have not been used as of this time for the analysis of HIV infection in the brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Dementia Complex*
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • HIV-1*
  • Humans
  • Mice