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Molecular vision

Adeno-associated virus type 8 vector-mediated expression of siRNA targeting vascular endothelial growth factor efficiently inhibits neovascularization in a murine choroidal neovascularization model.


PMID 24744609

Abstract

To assess the feasibility of a gene therapeutic approach to treating choroidal neovascularization (CNV), we generated an adeno-associated virus type 8 vector (AAV2/8) encoding an siRNA targeting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and determined the AAV2/8 vector's ability to inhibit angiogenesis. We initially transfected 3T3 cells expressing VEGF with the AAV2/8 plasmid vector psiRNA-VEGF using the H1 promoter and found that VEGF expression was significantly diminished in the transfectants. We next injected 1 μl (3 × 10(14) vg/ml) of AAV2/8 vector encoding siRNA targeting VEGF (AAV2/8/SmVEGF-2; n = 12) or control vector encoding green fluorescent protein (GFP) (AAV2/8/GFP; n = 14) into the subretinal space in C57BL/6 mice. One week later, CNV was induced by using a diode laser to make four separate choroidal burns around the optic nerve in each eye. After an additional 2 weeks, the eyes were removed for flat mount analysis of the CNV surface area. Subretinal delivery of AAV2/8/SmVEGF-2 significantly diminished CNV at the laser lesions, compared to AAV8/GFP (1597.3 ± 2077.2 versus 5039.5 ± 4055.9 µm(2); p<0.05). Using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, we found that VEGF levels were reduced by approximately half in the AAV2/8/SmVEGF-2 treated eyes. These results suggest that siRNA-VEGF can be expressed across the retina and that long-term suppression of CNV is possible through the use of stable AAV2/8-mediated siRNA-VEGF expression. In vivo gene therapy may thus be a feasible approach to the clinical management of CNV in conditions such as age-related macular degeneration.