Efficient CNS targeting in adult mice by intrathecal infusion of single-stranded AAV9-GFP for gene therapy of neurological disorders.
Adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene therapy constitutes a powerful tool for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. While AAVs are generally administered systemically to newborns in preclinical studies of neurological disorders, in adults the maturity of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) must be considered when selecting the route of administration. Delivery of AAVs into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) represents an attractive approach to target the central nervous system (CNS) and bypass the BBB. In this study, we investigated the efficacy of intra-CSF delivery of a single-stranded (ss) AAV9-CAG-GFP vector in adult mice via intracisternal (iCist) or intralumbar (it-Lumb) administration. It-Lumb ssAAV9 delivery resulted in greater diffusion throughout the entire spinal cord and green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression mainly in the cerebellum, cortex and olfactory bulb. By contrast, iCist delivery led to strong GFP expression throughout the entire brain. Comparison of the transduction efficiency of ssAAV9-CAG-GFP versus ssAAV9-SYN1-GFP following it-Lumb administration revealed widespread and specific GFP expression in neurons and motoneurons of the spinal cord and brain when the neuron-specific synapsin 1 (SYN1) promoter was used. Our findings demonstrate that it-Lumb ssAAV9 delivery is a safe and highly efficient means of targeting the CNS in adult mice.