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The Expression Pattern of Systemically Injected AAV9 in the Developing Mouse Retina Is Determined by Age


Systemic delivery of AAV9 offers the potential for widespread and efficient gene delivery to the retina, and may thus be a useful approach for treatment of disease where intraocular injections are not possible, for syndromes affecting multiple organs, or where early intervention is required. The expression resulting from intravenous injection of AAV9 is more efficient in neonates than adults, and here we characterize the effect of age on retinal transduction of AAV9 in the mouse retina. We find that the pattern of expression in neonatal mice is correlated to the development of the retinal vasculature, and that the area of the retinal transduction as well as the cell types infected vary depending on the age at injection. Furthermore, we demonstrate that sequential injections of AAV9 vectors carrying two different transgenes infect adjacent areas of the retina, providing a larger area of coverage. Lastly, we show that the retina's endogenous spatiotemporal expression pattern of Mfsd2a, a protein associated with the maturation of a functional blood-brain barrier, coincides with suppression of retinal transduction by intravenously-delivered AAV9, suggesting that AAV9 crosses the blood-retina barrier through transcytosis.

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