The developmental stage determines the distribution and duration of gene expression after early intra-amniotic gene transfer using lentiviral vectors

Gene Ther. 2010 Jan;17(1):61-71. doi: 10.1038/gt.2009.115. Epub 2009 Sep 3.


Gene transfer after intra-amniotic injection has, in general, been of low efficiency and limited to epithelial cells in the skin, pulmonary and gastrointestinal system. We have recently shown that early gestational administration results in a more efficient gene transfer to developmentally accessible stem cell populations in the skin and eye. In this study we present a comprehensive analysis of patterns of tissue expression seen after early intra-amniotic gene transfer (IAGT) using lentiviral vectors. To assess the influence of developmental stage on tissue expression, injections were administered from the late head fold/early somite stage (E8) to E18. In early gestation (E8-10), green fluorescent protein (GFP) expression was observed in multiple organs, derived from all three germ layers. Remarkably, GFP expression was observed in tissues derived from mesoderm and neural ectoderm at E8, whereas expression was limited to only epithelial cells of ectoderm- and endoderm-derived organs after E11. The amount and duration of gene expression was much higher after IAGT at early gestational time points. The observed temporal patterns of gene expression correspond to the predicted developmental accessibility of organ-specific cell populations. This model may be useful for the analyses of mechanisms of genetic and/or developmental disease and for the development of prenatal gene therapy for specific disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amnion*
  • Animals
  • Gene Transfer Techniques*
  • Genetic Vectors*
  • Gestational Age
  • Lentivirus / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Transduction, Genetic