Intravitreal injection of adeno-associated viral vectors results in the transduction of different types of retinal neurons in neonatal and adult rats: a comparison with lentiviral vectors

Mol Cell Neurosci. 2002 Sep;21(1):141-57. doi: 10.1006/mcne.2002.1168.


Replication-deficient viral vectors encoding the marker gene green fluorescent protein (GFP) were injected into the vitreous of newborn, juvenile (P14), and adult rats. We tested two different types of modified virus: adeno-associated viral-2-GFP (AAV-GFP) and lentiviral-GFP vectors (LV-GFP). The extent of retinal cell transduction in different-aged animals was compared 7, 21, and 70 days after eye injections. At all postinjection times, LV-GFP transduction was mostly limited to pigment epithelium and cells in sclera and choroid. In contrast, transduction of large numbers of neural retinal cells was seen 21 and 70 days after AAV-GFP injections. AAV-GFP predominantly transduced neurons, although GFP-positive Müller cells were seen. All neuronal classes were labeled, but the extent of transduction for a given class varied depending on injection age. After P0 injections about 50% of transduced cells were photoreceptors and 30-40% were amacrine or bipolar cells. After adult injections 60-70% of transduced cells were retinal ganglion cells. In adults many GFP-positive retinal axons were traced through the optic nerve/tract and terminal arbors were visualized in central targets.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics*
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Axons / physiology
  • Female
  • Genetic Vectors*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Indicators and Reagents / metabolism
  • Lentivirus / genetics*
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Phenotype
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / ultrastructure
  • Transduction, Genetic / methods*
  • Transgenes / genetics
  • Visual Pathways / cytology
  • Vitreous Body


  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins