Delivery of Adeno-Associated Virus Vectors in Adult Mammalian Inner-Ear Cell Subtypes Without Auditory Dysfunction

Hum Gene Ther. 2018 Apr;29(4):492-506. doi: 10.1089/hum.2017.120. Epub 2018 Jan 22.


Hearing loss, including genetic hearing loss, is one of the most common forms of sensory deficits in humans with limited options of treatment. Adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated gene transfer has been shown to recover auditory functions effectively in mouse models of genetic deafness when delivered at neonatal stages. However, the mouse cochlea is still developing at those time points, whereas in humans, the newborn inner ears are already fully mature. For effective gene therapy to treat genetic deafness, it is necessary to determine whether AAV-mediated therapy can be equally effective in the fully mature mouse inner ear without causing damage to the inner ear. This study tested several AAV serotypes by canalostomy in adult mice. It is shown that most AAVs transduce the sensory inner hair cells efficiently, but are less efficient at transducing outer hair cells. A subset of AAVs also transduces non-sensory cochlear cell types. Neither the surgical procedure of canalostomy nor the AAV serotypes damage hair cells or impair normal hearing. The studies indicate that canalostomy can be a viable route for safe and efficient gene delivery, and they expand the repertoire of AAVs to target diverse cell types in the adult inner ear.

Keywords: AAV; adult mouse; hair cells; hearing; inner ear.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cochlea / pathology
  • Cochlea / transplantation
  • Dependovirus / genetics*
  • Ear, Inner / pathology
  • Gene Transfer Techniques*
  • Genetic Vectors / genetics
  • Genetic Vectors / therapeutic use*
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Inner / metabolism
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Inner / transplantation
  • Humans
  • Labyrinth Diseases / genetics
  • Labyrinth Diseases / therapy*
  • Mice
  • Serogroup
  • Transduction, Genetic


  • Green Fluorescent Proteins