Adeno-associated virus type 6 is retrogradely transported in the non-human primate brain

Gene Ther. 2013 Dec;20(12):1178-83. doi: 10.1038/gt.2013.48. Epub 2013 Sep 26.


We recently demonstrated that axonal transport of adeno-associated virus (AAV) is serotype-dependent. Thus, AAV serotype 2 (AAV2) is anterogradely transported (e.g., from cell bodies to nerve terminals) in both rat and non-human primate (NHP) brain. In contrast, AAV serotype 6 (AAV6) is retrogradely transported from terminals to neuronal cell bodies in the rat brain. However, the directionality of axonal transport of AAV6 in the NHP brain has not been determined. In this study, two Cynomolgus macaques received an infusion of AAV6 harboring green fluorescent protein (GFP) into the striatum (caudate and putamen) by magnetic resonance (MR)-guided convection-enhanced delivery. One month after infusion, immunohistochemical staining of brain sections revealed a striatal GFP expression that corresponded well with MR signal observed during gene delivery. As shown previously in rats, GFP expression was detected throughout the prefrontal, frontal and parietal cortex, as well as the substantia nigra pars compacta and thalamus, indicating retrograde transport of the vector in NHP. AAV6-GFP preferentially transduced neurons, although a few astrocytes were also transduced. Transduction of non-neuronal cells in the brain was associated with the upregulation of the major histocompatibility complex-II and lymphocytic infiltration as previously observed with AAV1 and AAV9. This contrasts with highly specific neuronal transduction in the rat brain. Retrograde axonal transport of AAV6 from a single striatal infusion permits efficient transduction of cortical neurons in significant tissue volumes that otherwise would be difficult to achieve.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Axonal Transport*
  • Axons / physiology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / virology
  • Caudate Nucleus / metabolism
  • Caudate Nucleus / virology
  • Dependovirus / genetics*
  • Dependovirus / physiology*
  • Female
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism*
  • Macaca fascicularis / virology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Putamen / metabolism
  • Putamen / virology
  • Rats
  • Transduction, Genetic
  • Viral Tropism


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins