UMBI licenses HIV rat to Harlan

the disease to humans.

The HIV transgenic rat is an excellent model for tracking of the clinical, cellular, and immunologic course of HIV-1 in humans. According to Bryant, "It will be especially effective in testing potential therapeutic strategies against chronic AIDS-associated conditions or syndrome."

By five to nine months of age, the HIV-1 transgenic rats develop clinical signs similar to those of AIDS in humans, including weight loss, skeletal muscle atrophy or "wasting," neurological abnormalities, and respiratory problems. Many of the rats also suffered from mild-to-severe skin lesions, kidney disease, and cardiac disorders, all of which have been reported in chronically HIV-infected humans.

The HIV rats are also more efficient than mouse models for blood and tissue specimens. Organ studies are also easier with the larger animals.

In the context of worldwide HIV studies, Bryant adds, "It is hoped that this will allow the development of drugs for prevention of many of the chronic disorders that occur in AIDS patients. And in the long run this is an important building block, a small animal model through transgenic technology, which will also accelerate vaccine work."


Contact: Steve Berberich
University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute

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