Animal models of AIDS

M. B. Gardner, Paul A Luciw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

159 Scopus citations


Animal models of AIDS are essential for understanding the pathogenesis of retrovirus-induced immune deficiency and encephalopathy and for development and testing of new therapies and vaccines. AIDS and related disorders are etiologically linked to members of the lentivirus subfamily of retroviruses; thes lymphocytopathic lentiviruses are designated human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2). The only animals susceptible to experimental HIV-1 infection are the chimpanzee, gibbon ape, and rabbit but AIDS-like disease has not yet been reported in these species. Macaques can be persistently infected with some strains of HIV-2 but no AIDS-like disease has resulted. It is not yet clear how suitable HIV-infected SCID-hu mice will be as a model for AIDS. Several subfamilies of naturally occurring cytopathic retroviruses cause immune suppression, including fatal immunodeficiency syndromes in chickens, mice, cats, and monkeys. Domestic cats suffer immunosuppression from both an oncovirus, feline leukemia virus, and a member of the lentivirus subfamily, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Asian macaques are susceptible to fatal simian AIDS from a type D retrovirus, indigenous in macaques, and from a lentivirus, simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), which is indigenous to healthy African monkeys. SIV is the animal lentivirus most closely related to HIV. Of these animal models, the lentivirus infections of cats (FIV) and macaques (SIV) appear to bear the closest similarity in their pathogenesis to HIV infection and AIDS. This review will summarize these various animal model systems for AIDS and illustrate their usefulness for antiviral therapy and vaccinology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2593-2606
Number of pages14
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number14
StatePublished - 1989


  • AIDS
  • animal models
  • immunodeficiency syndrome
  • lentivirus
  • oncovirus
  • retrovirus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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