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Rajiv R. Mohan, Praveen K. Balne, Maryam S. Muayad, Ratnakar Tripathi, Nishant R. Sinha, Suneel Gupta, Jella A. An, Prashant R. Sinha, Nathan P. Hesemann; Six-Month In Vivo Safety Profiling of Topical Ocular AAV5–Decorin Gene Transfer. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2021;10(10):5. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.10.10.5.
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A significant remission of corneal fibrosis and neovascularization in rabbit eye in vivo was observed from a tissue-selective localized adeno-associated virus (AAV)5–Decorin (Dcn) gene therapy. This study sought to investigate 6-month toxicity profiling of this gene therapy for the eye in vivo using a rabbit model.
A small epithelial scrape followed by corneal drying was performed unilaterally in 12 rabbit eyes and either AAV5–Dcn (n = 6) or naked vector (n = 6) was delivered topically using a cloning cylinder technique. Contralateral eyes served as naïve control (n = 6). Safety and tolerability measurements in live rabbits were performed periodically until month 6 using multimodel clinical ophthalmic imaging tools—a slit lamp, stereomicroscope, and HRT3-RCM in vivo confocal microscope. Thereafter, corneas were excised and subjected to hematoxylin and eosin staining, Mason trichome staining, propidium iodide nuclear staining, and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analyses.
Clinical eye examinations based on the modified Hackett–McDonald ocular scoring system, and in vivo confocal imaging of the cornea showed no signs of ocular toxicity in rabbit eyes given AAV5–Dcn gene transfer vs control eyes (P > 0.05) through 6 months after treatment. The histologic and molecular analyses showed no significant differences in AAV5–Dcn vs AAV naked or naïve control groups (P > 0.05) and were in accordance with the masked clinical ophthalmic observations showing no abnormalities.
Topical tissue-targeted localized AAV5–Dcn gene therapy seems to be safe and nontoxic to the rabbit eye in vivo.
AAV5–Dcn gene therapy has the potential to treat corneal fibrosis and neovascularization in vivo safely without significant ocular toxicity.
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