Impact of Vital Dyes on Cell Viability and Transduction Efficiency of AAV Vectors Used in Retinal Gene Therapy Surgery: An In Vitro and In Vivo Analysis.
Salvetti AP., Patrício MI., Barnard AR., Orlans HO., Hickey DG., MacLaren RE.
PURPOSE: Treatment of inherited retinal degenerations using adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors involves delivery by subretinal injection. In the latter stages, alteration of normal anatomy may cause difficulty in visualizing the retinotomy, retinal detachment extension, and vector diffusion. Vital dyes may be useful surgical adjuncts, but their safety and impact on AAV transduction are largely unknown. METHODS: The effects of Sodium Fluorescein (SF), Membrane Blue (MB), and Membrane Blue Dual (DB) at a range of dilutions were assessed on human embryonic kidney cells in vitro using an AAV2-green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter at different multiplicities of infection. Flow cytometry analysis was performed to assess both cell viability and transduction efficiency. The effect on quantitative (q)PCR titer was determined. Balanced salt solution (BSS) or dilute DB (1:5 in BSS) were delivered subretinally into left/right eyes of C57BL/6J mice (n= 12). Retinal structure and function were analyzed by optical coherence tomography, autofluorescence, dark-and light-adapted full-field electroretinography. RESULTS: DB and MB were not toxic at any concentration tested, SF only when undiluted. The presence of dyes did not adversely affect the genomic titer. DB even increased the values, due to presence of surfactant in the formulation. AAV2-GFP transduction efficiency was not reduced by the dyes. No structural and functional toxic effects were observed following subretinal delivery of DB. CONCLUSIONS: Only undiluted SF affected cell viability. No effects on qPCR titer and transduction efficiency were observed. DB does not appear toxic when delivered subretinally and improves titer accuracy. DB may therefore be a safe and helpful adjunct during gene therapy surgery. TRANSLATIONAL RELEVANCE: This paper might be of interest to the retinal gene therapy community: it is a "bench to bedside" research paper about the potential use of dyes as a surgical adjunct during the gene therapy surgery. We have tested the potential toxicity and impact on transduction efficiency in an in vitro and in vivo model.