Genetic modification of germ cells in somatic gene therapy protocols is a concern, particularly with fetal approaches. This study focused on the potential for germ cell gene transfer post-fetal gene delivery using a human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1)-derived lentiviral vector pseudotyped with the vesicular stomatitis virus-glycoprotein (VSV-G). Rhesus monkey fetuses (n = 47) were administered vector supernatant (107 infectious particles per fetus) via the intraperitoneal (IP), intrapulmonary (Ipu), or intracardiac routes (Ica) under ultrasound guidance. Tissue harvests were performed near term or 3 months postnatal age, and genomic DNA obtained to analyze for vector sequences from collected sections of gonads and gonadal cells obtained by laser capture microdissection (germ cells, stroma, epithelium). Results indicated no evidence of germ cell gene transfer in fetuses or infants with Ipu or Ica routes of administration. However, evidence of the transgene (1.33 ± 0.78 enhanced green fluorescent protein [EGFP] copies per copy ε-globin) was found in females, but not males, when using the IP administration approach (p < 0.05). The highest EGFP copies were detected on the surface epithelium (p < 0.05). The results of these studies suggest that the HIV-1-derived lentiviral vector pseudotyped with VSV-G may transduce a subpopulation of gonadal cells in female fetuses with IP administration, whereas no evidence of gene transfer was shown to occur in males or with organ-targeting approaches.
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