Efficient viral transduction in mouse inner ear hair cells with utricle injection and AAV9-PHP.B

Hear Res. 2020 Sep 1;394:107882. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2020.107882. Epub 2020 Jan 13.


Viral delivery of exogenous coding sequences into the inner ear has the potential for therapeutic benefit for patients suffering genetic or acquired hearing loss. To devise improved strategies for viral delivery, we investigated two injection techniques, round window membrane injection or a novel utricle injection method, for their ability to safely and efficiently transduce sensory hair cells and neurons of the mouse inner ear. In addition, we evaluated three synthetic AAV vectors (Anc80L65, AAV9-PHP.B, AAV2.7m8) encoding enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) and three promoters (Cmv, Synapsin, Gfap) for their ability to transduce and drive expression in desired cell types. We found the utricle injection method with AAV9-PHP.B and a Cmv promoter was the most efficient combination for driving robust eGFP expression in both inner and outer hair cells. We found eGFP expression levels rose over 3-5 days post-injection, a viral dose of 1.5 × 109 gc yielded half maximal eGFP expression and that the utricle injection method yielded transduced hair cells even when delivered as late as postnatal day 16. Sensory transduction and auditory thresholds were unaltered in injected mice relative to uninjected wild-type controls. Vestibular end organs were also transduced without affecting balance behavior. The Synapsin promoter and the Gfap promoter drove strong eGFP expression in inner ear neurons and supporting cells, respectively. We conclude the AAV9-PHP.B vector and the utricle injection method are well-suited for delivery of exogenous gene constructs into inner ears of mouse models of auditory and vestibular dysfunction.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections
  • Dependovirus / genetics
  • Ear, Inner*
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Hair Cells, Auditory, Outer
  • Mice
  • Saccule and Utricle
  • Synapsins / genetics


  • Synapsins