Background: Adeno-associated Virus (AAV) vectors are the most promising vehicles for therapeutic gene delivery to the retina. To develop a practical gene delivery tool, achieving high AAV transduction efficiency in specific cell types is often required. AAV-mediated targeted expression in retinal bipolar cells is needed in certain applications such as optogenetic therapy, however, the transduction efficiency driven by endogenous cell-specific promoters is usually low. Methods that can improve AAV transduction efficiency in bipolar cells need to be developed.
Objective: The study aimed to examine the effect of proteasome inhibitors on AAV-mediated transduction efficiency in retinal bipolar cells.
Methods: Quantitative analysis of fluorescent reporter protein expression was performed to assess the effect of two proteasome inhibitors, doxorubicin and MG132, on AAV-mediated transduction efficiency in retinal bipolar cells in mice.
Results: Our results showed that doxorubicin can increase the AAV transduction efficiency in retinal bipolar cells in a dose-dependent manner. We also observed doxorubicin-mediated cytotoxicity in retinal neurons, but the cytotoxicity could be mitigated by the coapplication of dexrazoxane. Three months after the coapplication of doxorubicin (300 μM) and dexrazoxane, the AAV transduction efficiency in retinal bipolar cells increased by 33.8% and no cytotoxicity was observed in all the layers of the retina.
Conclusion: Doxorubicin could enhance the AAV transduction efficiency in retinal bipolar cells in vivo. The potential long-term cytotoxicity caused by doxorubicin to retinal neurons could be partially mitigated by dexrazoxane. The coapplication of doxorubicin and dexrazoxane may serve as a potential adjuvant regimen for improving AAV transduction efficiency in retinal bipolar cells.
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