PURPOSE. To determine whether adenoassociated virus (AAV) vectors transduced into iris pigment epithelial (IPE) cells and transplanted into the subretinal space of rats will transfer the AAV genome to the host cells and whether the vectors are disseminated systemically. METHODS. Recombinant (r)AAV was transduced into rat IPE cells and transplanted into the subretinal space of rats. For the control, rAAVs alone were injected subretinally. The transplanted IPE cells were detected by LacZ staining. Immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, electroretinography, and fluorescein- dextran angiography were performed. DNA was extracted from various organs and blood and examined for the AAV genome by polymerase chain reaction. RESULTS. No toxicity from rAAV transduction was observed in vitro. LacZ was expressed in the transplanted cells 1 and 2 weeks after transplantation. At 4 and 12 weeks, fewer transplanted cells were detected than at 1 week, and LacZ expression was occasionally detected at the level of host retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells. Expression was also detected in ciliary body epithelial cells. The electroretinograms and fluorescein-dextran angiography were only mildly altered. Significantly lower levels of AAV genome were detected in the organs and blood of rats receiving rAAV-IPE cell transplants than with direct intravenous injection of AAV vectors. CONCLUSIONS. AAV-mediated LacZ was expressed in the transplanted cells after subretinal transplantation, and the transplanted IPE cells may transfer the rAAV to host tissues, such as RPE cells, long after the transplantation. This method of gene delivery did not lead to systemic dissemination of the vectors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience