Vacuolar myelopathy in transgenic mice expressing human immunodeficiency virus type 1 proteins under the regulation of the myelin basic protein gene promoter

Nat Med. 1996 Jun;2(6):655-61. doi: 10.1038/nm0696-655.


Vacuolar myelopathy is a common neurological complication in AIDS patients. The pathogenesis of this spinal cord white matter disease remains unclear and it is still debated whether infection of spinal cord with the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) is causing the disease. We have generated transgenic mice expressing the entire HIV-1 genome under the regulation of an oligodendrocyte-specific promoter. These mice develop spinal cord vacuolar lesions similar to those found in AIDS patients. This animal model provides in vivo evidence linking the expression of HIV-1 proteins in oligodendrocytes to the spinal cord damage found in vacuolar myelopathy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications
  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Viral
  • HIV-1 / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic* / virology
  • Myelin Basic Protein / genetics
  • Oligodendroglia / pathology
  • Paralysis / genetics
  • Spinal Cord / pathology*
  • Spinal Cord / ultrastructure
  • Spinal Cord / virology
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / complications
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / genetics*
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / virology
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Vacuoles / pathology*
  • Viral Proteins / biosynthesis


  • Myelin Basic Protein
  • Viral Proteins