Helper-Dependent Adenovirus-Mediated Gene Transfer Into the Adult Mouse Cochlea

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Background:Gene therapy may provide a way to restore cochlear function to deaf patients. The most successful techniques for cochlear gene therapy have been injection of early-generation adenoviral vectors into scala media in guinea pigs. However, it is important to be able to perform gene therapy research in mice because there is wide availability of transgenic strains with hereditary hearing loss.Purpose:We demonstrate our technique for delivery of a third-generation adenoviral vector, helper-dependent adenovirus (HDAd), to the adult mouse cochlea.Methods:Mice were injected with an HDAd that contained a reporter gene for either β-galactosidase or green fluorescent protein into scala media. After 4 days, the cochleae were harvested for analyses. Auditory brainstem response monitoring of cochlear function was performed before making a cochleostomy, after making a cochleostomy, and before killing the animal.Results:β-Galactosidase was identified in the spiral ligament, the organ of Corti, and spiral ganglion cells by light microscopy. Green fluorescent protein epifluorescence was assessed in whole-mount organ of Corti preparations using confocal microscopy. This demonstrated transduction of inner hair cells, outer hair cells, and supporting cells. Paraffin-embedded cross sections similarly revealed gene transduction within the organ of Corti. Threshold shifts of 39.8 ± 5.4 and 37.7 ± 5.5 dB were observed in mice injected with HDAd or control buffer, respectively.Conclusion:The technique of scala media HDAd injection reliably infects the adult mouse cochlea, including cells within the organ of Corti, although the procedure itself adversely affects hearing.

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