Prenatal electroporation-mediated gene transfer restores Slc26a4 knock-out mouse hearing and vestibular function

Sci Rep. 2019 Nov 29;9(1):17979. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-54262-3.


The otocyst, an anlage of the inner ear, presents an attractive target to study treatment strategies for genetic hearing loss and inner ear development. We have previously reported that electroporation-mediated transuterine gene transfer of Connexin30, utilizing a monophasic pulse into Connexin30-/- mouse otocysts at embryonic day 11.5, is able to prevent putative hearing deterioration. However, it is not clear whether supplementary gene transfer can rescue significant morphological changes, caused by genetic deficits. In addition, with the transuterine gene transfer technique utilized in our previous report, the survival rate of embryos and their mothers after treatment was low, which became a serious obstacle for effective in vivo experiments. Here, we set out to elucidate the feasibility of supplementation therapy in Slc26a4 deficient mice, utilizing biphasic pulses, optimized by modifying pulse conditions. Modification of the biphasic pulse conditions during electroporation increased the survival rate. In addition, supplementation of the target gene cDNA into the otocysts of homozygous Slc24a4 knockout mice significantly prevented enlargement of the endolymphatic space in the inner ear areas; moreover, it rescued hearing and vestibular function of mice in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electroporation* / methods
  • Female
  • Gene Transfer Techniques*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Therapy / methods
  • Hearing
  • Hearing Loss / genetics*
  • Hearing Loss / physiopathology
  • Hearing Loss / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Pregnancy
  • Sulfate Transporters / genetics*
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / physiopathology


  • Slc26a4 protein, mouse
  • Sulfate Transporters