Ex Vivo Gene Delivery to Porcine Cardiac Allografts Using a Myocardial-Enhanced Adeno-Associated Viral Vector

Hum Gene Ther. 2023 Apr;34(7-8):303-313. doi: 10.1089/hum.2022.241.


Transplantation, the gold standard intervention for organ failure, is a clinical field that is ripe for applications of gene therapy. One of the major challenges in applying gene therapy to this field is the need for a method that achieves consistent and robust gene delivery to allografts. Normothermic ex vivo perfusion is a growing organ preservation method and a device for cardiac preservation was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (Organ Care System, OCS™; TransMedics, Inc., Andover, MA); this device maintains donor hearts in a near physiologic state while they are transported from the donor to the recipient. This study describes the administration of recombinant adeno-associated viral vectors (rAAVs) during ex vivo normothermic perfusion for the delivery of transgenes to porcine cardiac allografts. We utilized a myocardial-enhanced AAV3b variant, SASTG, assessing its transduction efficiency in the OCS perfusate relative to other AAV serotypes. We describe the use of normothermic ex vivo perfusion to deliver SASTG carrying the Firefly Luciferase transgene to porcine donor hearts in four heterotopic transplant procedures. Durable and dose-dependent transgene expression was achieved in the allografts in 30 days, with no evidence of off-target transgene expression. This study demonstrates the feasibility and efficiency of delivering genes to a large animal allograft utilizing AAV vectors during ex vivo perfusion. These findings support the idea of gene therapy interventions to enhance transplantation outcomes.

Keywords: adeno-associated virus; ex vivo machine perfusion; gene delivery; gene therapy; transplantation; viral vectors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Allografts
  • Animals
  • Genetic Therapy / methods
  • Heart Transplantation* / methods
  • Humans
  • Perfusion / methods
  • Swine
  • Tissue Donors