Humanized mice are valuable models for the research and development of vaccine strategies and therapeutic interventions to control or eradicate HIV. The BLT humanized mouse model is particularly promising because the combination of transplantation of human fetal pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells with surgical engraftment of human fetal thymic tissue results in improved T cell reconstitution, maturation, and selection. To date, the BLT humanized mouse model has been used to study many aspects of HIV infection including prevention, mucosal transmission, HIV-specific innate and adaptive immunity, viral latency, and novel antiretroviral and immune-based therapies for suppression and reservoir eradication. Here we describe recent advances and applications of the BLT humanized mouse model of HIV infection and discuss opportunities to further improve this valuable small animal model.
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