Disrupted Decision-Making: EcoHIV Inoculation in Cocaine Dependent Rats

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Independently, chronic cocaine use and HIV-1 viral protein exposure induce neuroadaptations in the frontal-striatal circuit as evidenced by both clinical and preclinical studies; how the frontal-striatal circuit responds to HIV-1 infection following chronic drug use, however, has remained elusive. After establishing experience with both sucrose and cocaine self-administration, a pretest-posttest experimental design was utilized to evaluate preference judgment, a simple form of decision-making dependent upon the integrity of frontal-striatal circuit function. During the pretest assessment, male rats exhibited a clear preference for cocaine, whereas female animals preferred sucrose. Two posttest evaluations (3 days and 6 weeks post inoculation) revealed that, independent of biological sex, inoculation with chimeric HIV (EcoHIV), but not saline, disrupted decision-making. Prominent structural alterations in the frontal-striatal circuit were evidenced by synaptodendritic alterations in pyramidal neurons in the medial prefrontal cortex. Thus, the EcoHIV rat affords a valid animal model to critically investigate how the frontal-striatal circuit responds to HIV-1 infection following chronic drug use.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9100
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • dendritic spines
  • human immunodeficiency virus type 1
  • prefrontal cortex
  • pyramidal neurons
  • self-administration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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