A rat model of ecohiv brain infection

Hailong Li, Kristen A. McLaurin, Charles F. Mactutus, Rosemarie M. Booze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


It has been well studied that the EcoHIV infected mouse model is of significant utility in investigating HIV associated neurological complications. Establishment of the EcoHIV infected rat model for studies of drug abuse and neurocognitive disorders, would be beneficial in the study of neuroHIV and HIV-1 associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). In the present study, we demonstrate the successful creation of a rat model of active HIV infection using chimeric HIV (EcoHIV). First, the lentiviral construct of EcoHIV was packaged in cultured 293 FT cells for 48 hours. Then, the conditional medium was concentrated and titered. Next, we performed bilateral stereotaxic injections of the EcoHIV-EGFP into F344/N rat brain tissue. One week after infection, EGFP fluorescence signals were detected in the infected brain tissue, indicating that EcoHIV successfully induces an active HIV infection in rats. In addition, immunostaining for the microglial cell marker, Iba1, was performed. The results indicated that microglia were the predominant cell type harboring EcoHIV. Furthermore, EcoHIV rats exhibited alterations in temporal processing, a potential underlying neurobehavioral mechanism of HAND as well as synaptic dysfunction eight weeks after infection. Collectively, the present study extends the EcoHIV model of HIV-1 infection to the rat offering a valuable biological system to study HIV-1 viral reservoirs in the brain as well as HAND and associated comorbidities such as drug abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere62137
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number167
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by NIH grants HD043680, MH106392,

Funding Information:
This work was funded by NIH grants HD043680, MH106392, DA013137, and NS100624.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 JoVE Journal of Visualized Experiments.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (all)
  • Chemical Engineering (all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology (all)


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