Electrically assisted ocular gene therapy

Surv Ophthalmol. 2007 Mar-Apr;52(2):196-208. doi: 10.1016/j.survophthal.2006.12.005.


Electrotransfer and iontophoresis are being developed as innovative non-viral gene delivery systems for the treatment of eye diseases. These two techniques rely on the use of electric current to allow for higher transfection yield of various ocular cell types in vivo. Short pulses of relatively high-intensity electric fields are used for electrotransfer delivery, whereas the iontophoresis technique is based on the application of low voltage electric current. The basic principles of these techniques and their potential therapeutic application for diseases of the anterior and posterior segments of the eye are reviewed. Iontophoresis has been found most efficient for the delivery of small nucleic acid fragments such as antisense oligonucleotides, siRNA, or ribozymes. Electrotransfer, on the other hand, is being developed for the delivery of oligonucleotides or custom designed plasmids. The wide range of strategies already validated and the potential for targeting specific types of cells confirm the promising early observations made using electrotransfer and iontophoresis. These two nonviral delivery systems are safe and can be used efficiently for targeted gene delivery to ocular tissues in vivo. At the present, their application for the treatment of ocular human diseases is nearing its final stages of adaptation and practical implementation at the bedside.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electroporation / methods*
  • Eye Diseases / therapy*
  • Gene Transfer Techniques*
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Iontophoresis / methods*