[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 14-Jan-2008
[ | E-mail Share Share ]

Contact: Josh Eveleth
jeveleth@plos.org
415-624-1234
Public Library of Science

Mouse model shows potential efficacy of HIV prevention strategy

A new kind of laboratory mouse can be used to test the efficacy of much-needed methods to prevent transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, according to research by J. Victor Garcia and colleagues at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

The findings, published in PLoS Medicine, demonstrate the utility of such mice for animal testing of pre-exposure antiviral drugs to protect against HIV infection. Such mice also provide a new way of evaluating microbicides and other prevention approaches that have generally required testing in macaques, using viruses that are related, but not identical, to HIV.

Unmodified mice cannot be infected with HIV. Earlier laboratory-modified mice, such as the SCID-hu mouse, contain human thymic tissue that can only become infected after direct injection, but not through any of the natural routes of HIV transmission in humans including the genital route. However, of the 2.5 million newly acquired HIV infections estimated to have occurred in 2007, more than half were in women, mostly through unprotected vaginal sex with an infected male partner.

The new development involves “BLT” mice, which have been transplanted with human blood cells, liver, and thymus tissue. The researchers found that human cells necessary for HIV infection distributed themselves in the female reproductive tract of BLT mice, rendering them susceptible to vaginal infection with HIV. They also found that infection spread to other organs in a way that resembles the course of HIV infection in humans. Finally, they showed that vaginal infection could be blocked by treating the mice with antiretroviral drugs that are currently being evaluated as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) -- a possible means of HIV prevention in humans at risk for sexual exposure to HIV.

These findings support the promising results of PrEP studies from established, but costly, macaque models. Whether the BLT mouse – or any animal model -- provides a reliable predictor of HIV prevention in humans can only be determined by comparison of animal experiments to actual human trials.

The paper is discussed in a related perspective article by Barbara Shacklett (University of California Davis), entitled “Can the New Humanized Mouse Model Give HIV Research a Boost?” At this stage, says Dr Shacklett, “the most prudent approach is to consider the new humanized rodents and the more established, nonhuman primate models as complementary systems, both of which can yield useful information but neither of which is infallible.”

Citation: Denton PW, Estes JD, Sun Z, Othieno FA, Wei BL, et al. (2008) Antiretroviral pre-exposure prophylaxis prevents vaginal transmission of HIV-1 in humanized BLT mice. PLoS Med 5(1) e16.

PLEASE ADD THE LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0050016

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-05-01-garcia.pdf

CONTACT: J. Victor Garcia
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
Internal Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases
5323 Harry Hines Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75390
United States of America
+1 214-648-9970
+1 214-648-0231 (fax)
victor.garcia@utsouthwestern.edu

Related PLoS Medicine perspective article:

Citation: Shacklett BL (2008) Can the new humanized mouse model give HIV research a boost? PLoS Med 5(1): e13

PLEASE ADD THE LINK TO THE PUBLISHED ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0050013

PRESS-ONLY PREVIEW OF THE ARTICLE: http://www.plos.org/press/plme-05-01-shacklett.pdf

CONTACT: Barbara Shacklett
University of California Davis
Dept. of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine,
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States of America
+1 530 752-6785
+1 530 752-8692 (fax)
blshacklett@ucdavis.edu

###

Everything published by PLoS Medicine is Open Access: freely available for anyone to read, download, redistribute and otherwise use, as long as the authorship is properly attributed.

Please mention PLoS Medicine in your report and use the links below to take your readers straight to the online articles.

About PLoS Medicine

PLoS Medicine is an open access, freely available international medical journal. It publishes original research that enhances our understanding of human health and disease, together with commentary and analysis of important global health issues. For more information, visit http://www.plosmedicine.org

About the Public Library of Science

The Public Library of Science (PLoS) is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. For more information, visit http://www.plos.org



[ Back to EurekAlert! ] [ | E-mail Share Share ]

 


AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.