Gene Therapy Restores Balance and Auditory Functions in a Mouse Model of Usher Syndrome

Isgrig K, etc
Molecular Therapy, 2017

Dizziness and hearing loss are among the most common disabilities. Many forms of hereditary balance and hearing disorders are caused by abnormal development of stereocilia, mechanosensory organelles on the apical surface of hair cells in the inner ear. The deaf whirler mouse, a model of human Usher syndrome (manifested by hearing loss, dizziness, and blindness), has a recessive mutation in the whirlin gene, which renders hair cell stereocilia short and dysfunctional. In this study, wild-type whirlin cDNA was delivered to the inner ears of neonatal whirler mice using adeno-associated virus serotype 2/8 (AAV8-whirlin) by injection into the posterior semicircular canal. Unilateral whirlin gene therapy injection was able to restore balance function as well as improve hearing in whirler mice for at least 4 months. Our data indicate that gene therapy is likely to become a treatment option for hereditary disorders of balance and hearing.

The AAV8-Whirlin and AAV8-GFP control used in this study were made by Vector Biolabs.

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Molecular Therapy
doi: 10.1016/j.ymthe.2017.01.007.