HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND) remain highly prevalent despite combined antiretroviral therapy (cART). Although the most common forms of HAND are mild and identified through neuropsychological testing, there is evidence that with aging these mild forms become more prevalent and may advance to the most severe form of HAND, HIV-associated dementia. Therefore, novel therapies must be developed that can be used adjunctively with cART to prevent deterioration or restore normal cognitive function. In order to develop innovative treatments, animal models are used for preclinical testing. Ideally, a HAND animal model should portray similar mild cognitive deficits that are found in humans. A mouse model of HAND is discussed, which demonstrates mild behavioral deficits and has been used to investigate cART and novel treatments for HAND. This model also shows correlations between abnormal mouse behavior due to HIV in the brain and pathological parameters such as gliosis and neuronal abnormalities. A recent advancement utilizes the object recognition test to monitor mouse behavior before and after treatment. It is postulated that this model is well suited for preclinical testing of novel therapies and provides correlations of mild cognitive impairment with pathological markers that can give further insight into the pathophysiology of HAND.
- Animal model
- Neurocognitive disorders
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience