AAV-PHP.eB transduces both the inner and outer retina with high efficacy in mice

Mol Ther Methods Clin Dev. 2022 Mar 28:25:236-249. doi: 10.1016/j.omtm.2022.03.016. eCollection 2022 Jun 9.


Recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors are one of the main gene delivery vehicles used in retinal gene therapy approaches; however, there is a need to further improve the efficacy, tropism, and safety of these vectors. In this study, using a CMV-EGFP expression cassette, we characterize the retinal utility of AAV-PHP.eB, a serotype recently developed by in vivo directed evolution, which can cross the blood-brain barrier and target neurons with high efficacy in mice. Systemic and intravitreal delivery of AAV-PHP.eB resulted in the high transduction efficacy of retinal ganglion and horizontal cells, with systemic delivery providing pan-retinal coverage of the mouse retina. Subretinal delivery transduced photoreceptors and retinal pigment epithelium cells robustly. EGFP expression (number of transduced cells and mRNA levels) were similar when the retinas were transduced systemically or intravitreally with AAV-PHP.eB or intravitreally with AAV2/2. Notably, in photoreceptors, EGFP fluorescence intensities and mRNA levels were 50-70 times higher, when subretinal injections with AAV-PHP.eB were compared to AAV2/8. Our results demonstrate the pan-retinal transduction of ganglion cells and extremely efficient transduction of photoreceptor and retinal pigment epithelium cells as the most valuable features of AAV-PHP.eB in the mouse retina.

Keywords: AAV-PHP.eB; AAV2/2; AAV2/8; EGFP; eye; gene therapy; mouse; retina; retinal degeneration.