Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Dissertation




College of Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Rosemarie M. Booze


HIV-associated cognitive disorders continue to affect approximately 25 million individuals worldwide, and its prevalence is expected to increase as the lifespan of HIV-1 infected individuals continues to improve. The HIV-1 transgenic rat expresses 7 of the 9 genes that encompass the virus, and is an appropriate model for studying chronic HIV-1 infection at a level that is controlled through combined antiretroviral therapy. Psychostimulant abuse is known to exacerbate HAND symptomology, but the psychostimulant methylphenidate is a first line of treatment for HIV associated cognitive inhibition. Dopamine transport abnormalities in the HIV-1 Tg rat have been well characterized through behavioral testing; however, this study is the first to analyze realtime dopamine transport differences via fast scan cyclic voltammetry. Dopamine release from the nucleus accumbens is greatly diminished in HIV-1 transgenic rats, especially in females. Acquisition rates of oral self-administration of methylphenidate in female HIV- 1 Tg rats are increased compared to control rats, and this phenomenon is mirrored in locomotor activity following self-administration. Additionally, MPH has an equalizing effect on dendritic spine morphology of the nucleus accumbens in both groups of rats, and causes a slight relative increase in the length and head diameter of spines on pyramidal neurons of the prefrontal cortex. These findings suggest abuse lability for methylphenidate among individuals with HIV-1 infection.


© 2016, Robert Francis Roscoe Jr.