Neonatal intraperitoneal or intravenous injections of recombinant adeno-associated virus type 8 transduce dorsal root ganglia and lower motor neurons

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Pediatrics; Gene Therapy Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Animals, Newborn; DNA, Recombinant; Dependovirus; Ganglia, Spinal; Genetic Vectors; Green Fluorescent Proteins; Immunohistochemistry; Injections, Intraperitoneal; Injections, Intravenous; Mice; Motor Neurons; Polymerase Chain Reaction; *Transduction, Genetic


Allergy and Immunology | Genetics and Genomics | Nervous System Diseases | Pediatrics


Targeting lower motor neurons (LMNs) for gene delivery could be useful for disorders such as spinal muscular atrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. LMNs reside in the ventral gray matter of the spinal cord and send axonal projections to innervate skeletal muscle. Studies have used intramuscular injections of adeno-associated virus type 2 (AAV2) to deliver viral vectors to LMNs via retrograde transport. However, treating large areas of the spinal cord in a human would require numerous intramuscular injections, thereby increasing viral titer and risk of immune response. New AAV serotypes, such as AAV8, have a dispersed transduction pattern after intravenous or intraperitoneal injection in neonatal mice, and may transduce LMNs by retrograde transport or through entry into the nervous system. To test LMN transduction after systemic injection, we administered recombinant AAV8 (rAAV8) carrying the green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene by intravenous or intraperitoneal injection to neonatal mice on postnatal day 1. Tissues were harvested 5 and 14 days postinjection and analyzed by real-time polymerase chain reaction and GFP immunohistochemistry to assess the presence of AAV genomes and GFP expression, respectively. Spinal cords were positive for AAV genomes at both time points. GFP immunohistochemistry revealed infrequent labeling of LMNs across all time points and injection routes. Somewhat surprisingly, there was extensive labeling of fibers in the dorsal horns and columns, indicating dorsal root ganglion transduction across all time points and injection routes. Our data suggest that systemic injection of rAAV8 is not an effective delivery route to target lower motor neurons, but could be useful for targeting sensory pathways in chronic pain.

DOI of Published Version



Hum Gene Ther. 2008 Jan;19(1):61-70. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Human gene therapy

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID