Many important aspects of human retroviral infections cannot be fully evaluated using only in vitro systems or unmodified animal models. An alternative approach involves the use of humanized mice, which consist of immunodeficient mice that have been transplanted with human cells and/or tissues. Certain humanized mouse models can support robust infection with human retroviruses including different strains of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and human T cell leukemia virus (HTLV). These models have provided wide-ranging insights into retroviral biology, including detailed information on primary infection, in vivo replication and pathogenesis, latent/persistent reservoir formation, and novel therapeutic interventions. Here we describe the humanized mouse models that are most commonly utilized to study retroviral infections, and outline some of the important discoveries that these models have produced during several decades of intensive research.
Keywords: Animal models; Gene therapy; HIV; HTLV; Humanized mice; Latency; Pathogenesis; SCID mouse.
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