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Mol Ther. 2001 Feb;3(2):225-32.

Combined injection of rAAV with mannitol enhances gene expression in the rat brain.

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Functional Genomics and Translational Neuroscience Laboratory, Division of Molecular Medicine, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.


Recombinant adeno-associated viruses (rAAV) are highly efficient vectors for gene transfer into the central nervous system (CNS). However, a major hurdle for gene delivery to the mammalian brain is to achieve high-level transduction in target cells beyond the immediate injection site. Therefore, in addition to improvements in expression cassettes and viral titers, optimal injection parameters need to be defined. Here, we show that previous studies of somatic cell gene transfer to the mammalian brain have used suboptimal injection parameters, with even the lowest reported perfusion rates still excessively fast. Moreover, we evaluated the effect of local administration of mannitol to further enhance transgene expression and vector spread. Ultraslow microperfusion of rAAV, i.e., <33 nl/min, resulted in significantly higher gene expression and less injury of surrounding tissue than the previously reported rates of 100 nl/min or faster. Co-infusion of mannitol facilitated gene transfer to neurons, increasing both the total number and the distribution of transduced cells by 200-300%. Gene transfer studies in the CNS using rAAV should use very slow infusion rates and combined injection with mannitol to maximize transduction efficiency and spread.

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