Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Open Access Thesis



First Advisor

Rosemarie Booze


HIV-1 infection affects approximately 38 million people around the world. The advent of cART has greatly improved the quality of life of infected individuals; however, roughly 50% of these individuals will still experience HIV-1 associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). Additionally, the gut microbiome has been reported to be dysbiotic in HIV-1 infected individuals, regardless of adherence to cART. Current research has pointed to the gut-brain-microbiota axis as a potential target to treat both cognitive deficits and microbial changes. The present study investigated S-equol (SE) as a potential therapeutic for HAND by modulating the gut microbiome. The study included 21 HIV-1 Tg rats and 21 F344 control animals to test the effect 0.2mg SE has on cocaine-maintained responding on a PR schedule of reinforcement. Gut microbiome alterations between genotypes were found at the phylum and genus level, regardless of treatment group, and treatment had both main effects and interactions with genotype. Prevotella_UCG_001 was found to significantly covary with lever presses for drug, suggesting a possible effect on motivation for cocaine. Alloprevotella was found to significantly differentiate between genotype by treatment effects, indicating that SE may differently affect genotypes.


© 2022, Mason T. Rodriguez