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.
Josh Eveleth | EurekAlert!
How gut bacteria can make us ill
18.01.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Nanoparticle Exposure Can Awaken Dormant Viruses in the Lungs
16.01.2017 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences
18.01.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.01.2017 | Earth Sciences