Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Dr. Richard Dix


Sight threatening human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) retinitis still remains a cause for concern among AIDS patients who do not respond to or do not have access to current antiretroviral (ART) therapy [1]. However, little is currently known about the degenerative mechanisms behind HHCMV retinal destruction during retroviral immunosuppression. The well-established murine AIDS (MAIDS) related murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) retinitis model closely mimics disease progression seen in AIDS patients [4]. Previous work using this model has shown that while the cell death pathway apoptosis is involved in disease progression, it is not fully responsible [1]. It has been found that the mRNA of molecules associated with two other cell death pathways, necroptosis and pyroptosis, are also correlated with the pathophysiology of MAIDS-related MCMV retinitis [1]. We propose that retinal degeneration seen during CMV retinitis involves necroptosis/pyroptosis programmed cell death correlating with the increased mRNA/protein expression of associated molecules observed in this study.