A new mouse model closely resembles how the human body reacts to early HIV infection and is shedding light on nerve cell damage related to the disease, researchers have revealed.
The study demonstrates that HIV infection of the nervous system leads to inflammatory responses, changes in brain cells, and damage to neurons. This is the first study to show such neuronal loss during initial stages of HIV infection in a mouse model.
"This research breakthrough should help us move forward in learning more about how HIV affects important brain functioning in its initial stages, which in turn could lead us to better treatments that can be used early in the disease process," said Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The study has been published in the Journal of Neuroscience.