Peripheral neuropathy (PN) is the most frequent neurologic complication in individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It affects over one third of infected patients, including those receiving effective combination antiretroviral therapy. The pathogenesis of HIV-associated peripheral neuropathy (HIV-PN) remains poorly understood. Clinical studies are complicated because both HIVand antiretroviral treatment cause damage to the peripheral nervous system. To study HIV-induced peripheral nervous system (PNS) damage, a unique simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)/pigtailed macaque model of HIV-PN that enabled detailed morphologic and functional evaluation of the somatosensory pathway throughout disease progression was developed. Studies in this model have demonstrated that SIV induces key pathologic features that closely resemble HIVinduced alterations, including inflammation and damage to the neuronal cell bodies in somatosensory ganglia and decreased epidermal nerve fiber density. Insights generated in the model include: finding that SIV alters the conduction properties of small, unmyelinated peripheral nerves; and that SIV impairs peripheral nerve regeneration. This review will highlight the major findings in the SIV-infected pigtailed macaque model of HIV-PN, and will illustrate the great value of a reliable large animal model to show the pathogenesis of this complex, HIV-induced disorder of the PNS.
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
- Macaca nemestrina
- Peripheral nervous system (PNS)
- Simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)