Cellular selectivity of AAV serotypes for gene delivery in neurons and astrocytes by neonatal intracerebroventricular injection

Hammond SL, etc
PLoS, 2018

The non-pathogenic parvovirus, adeno-associated virus (AAV), is an efficient vector for transgene expression in vivo and shows promise for treatment of brain disorders in clinical trials. Currently, there are more than 100 AAV serotypes identified that differ in the binding capacity of capsid proteins to specific cell surface receptors that can transduce different cell types and brain regions in the CNS. In the current study, multiple AAV serotypes expressing a GFP reporter (AAV1, AAV2/1, AAVDJ, AAV8, AAVDJ8, AAV9, AAVDJ9) were screened for their infectivity in both primary murine astrocyte and neuronal cell cultures. AAV2/1, AAVDJ8 and AAV9 were selected for further investigation of their tropism throughout different brain regions and cell types. Each AAV was administered to P0-neonatal mice via intracerebroventricular injections (ICV). Brains were then systematically analyzed for GFP expression at 3 or 6 weeks post-infection in various regions, including the olfactory bulb, striatum, cortex, hippocampus, substantia nigra (SN) and cerebellum. Cell counting data revealed that AAV2/1 infections were more prevalent in the cortical layers but penetrated to the midbrain less than AAVDJ8 and AAV9. Additionally, there were differences in the persistence of viral transgene expression amongst the three serotypes examined in vivo at 3 and 6 weeks post-infection. Because AAV-mediated transgene expression is of interest in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease, we examined the SN with microscopy techniques, such as CLARITY tissue transmutation, to identify AAV serotypes that resulted in optimal transgene expression in either astrocytes or dopaminergic neurons. AAVDJ8 displayed more tropism in astrocytes compared to AAV9 in the SN region. We conclude that ICV injection results in lasting expression of virally encoded transgene when using AAV vectors and that specific AAV serotypes are required to selectively deliver transgenes of interest to different brain regions in both astrocytes and neurons.

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doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0188830
Colorado State University