Download Full Text (10.3 MB)

Presentation date

Summer 8-12-2021

College, Institute, or Department

Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience

Faculty Mentor

Santhi Gorantla, PhD

Research Mentor

Santhi Gorantla, PhD


HIV infection is associated with numerous spinal cord diseases, such as vacuolar myelopathy, primary HIV-associated acute transverse myelitis, and primary CNS lymphoma, amongst others. These diseases had a much higher prevalence in the pre-cART era, however, some individuals are still affected despite cART treatment. Moreover, a previous study has shown that HIV-1 gp120 induces synaptic degeneration in the spinal pain neural circuit, which is likely a critical step in neuropathogenesis of the spinal cord in HIV. Further study is needed to better understand how HIV patients are affected by spinal cord disease, and to develop therapeutic strategies.

To study HIV in its relation to spinal cord disease, we used a recently developed humanized mouse model that has human microglial cell reconstitution. This model allows for the HIV infection in central nervous system and the observation of resulting pathology.


HIV, humanized mouse model, spinal cord disease, neuropathogenesis, myelopathy

Spinal Cord Disease in HIV Infection