Double viral vector technology for selective manipulation of neural pathways with higher level of efficiency and safety

Gene Ther. 2021 Jun;28(6):339-350. doi: 10.1038/s41434-020-00212-y. Epub 2021 Jan 11.


Pathway-selective gene delivery would be critical for future gene therapy against neuropsychiatric disorders, traumatic neuronal injuries, or neurodegenerative diseases, because the impaired functions depend on neural circuits affected by the insults. Pathway-selective gene delivery can be achieved by double viral vector techniques, which combine an injection of a retrograde transport viral vector into the projection area of the target neurons and that of an anterograde viral vector into their somas. In this study, we tested the efficiency of gene delivery with different combinations of viral vectors to the pathway extending from the ventral tegmental area (VTA) to the cortical motor regions in rats, considered to be critical in the promotion of motor recovery from neural injuries. It was found that retrograde recombinant adeno-associated virus 2-retro (rAAV2reto) combined with anterograde AAVDJ (type2/type4/type5/type8/type9/avian/bovine/caprine chimera) exhibited the highest transduction efficiency in the short term (3-6 weeks) but high toxicity in the long term (3 months). In contrast, the same rAAV2reto combined with anterograde AAV5 displayed moderate transduction efficiency in the short term but low toxicity in the long term. These data suggest that the combination of anterograde AAV5 and retrograde rAAV2retro is suitable for safe and efficient gene delivery to the VTA-cortical pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Gene Transfer Techniques
  • Genetic Vectors* / genetics
  • Goats*
  • Neural Pathways
  • Rats
  • Technology