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Curr Gene Ther. 2005 Jun;5(3):333-8.

Adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors in the CNS.

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Gene Therapy Center, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, 7119 Thurston, CB 7352, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors exhibit a number of properties that have made this vector system an excellent choice for both CNS gene therapy and basic neurobiological investigations. In vivo, the preponderance of AAV vector transduction occurs in neurons where it is possible to obtain long-term, stable gene expression with very little accompanying toxicity. Promoter selection, however, significantly influences the pattern and longevity of neuronal transduction distinct from the tropism inherent to AAV vectors. AAV vectors have successfully manipulated CNS function using a wide variety of approaches including expression of foreign genes, expression of endogenous genes, expression of antisense RNA and expression of RNAi. With the discovery and characterization of different AAV serotypes, the potential patterns of in vivo vector transduction have been expanded substantially, offering alternatives to the more studied AAV 2 serotype. Furthermore, the development of specific AAV chimeras offers the potential to further refine targeting strategies. These different AAV serotypes also provide a solution to the immune silencing that proves to be a realistic likelihood given broad exposure of the human population to the AAV 2 serotype. These advantageous CNS properties of AAV vectors have fostered a wide range of clinically relevant applications including Parkinson's disease, lysosomal storage diseases, Canavan's disease, epilepsy, Huntington's disease and ALS. Each individual application, however, presents a unique set of challenges that must be solved in order to attain clinically effective gene therapies.

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