Preclinical safety evaluation of a recombinant AAV8 vector for X-linked retinoschisis after intravitreal administration in rabbits

Dario Marangoni, Zhijian Wu, Henry E. Wiley, Caroline J. Zeiss, Camasamudram Vijayasarathy, Yong Zeng, Suja Hiriyanna, Ronald A. Bush, Lisa L. Wei, Peter Colosi, Paul A. Sieving

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23 Scopus citations


X-linked retinoschisis (XLRS) is a retinal disease caused by mutations in the gene encoding the protein retinoschisin (RS1) and one of the most common causes of macular degeneration in young men. Currently, no FDA-approved treatments are available for XLRS and a replacement gene therapy could provide a promising strategy. We have developed a novel gene therapy approach for XLRS, based on the administration of AAV8-scRS/IRBPhRS, an adeno-associated viral vector coding the human RS1 protein, via the intravitreal route. On the basis of our prior study in an Rs1-KO mouse, this construct transduces efficiently all the retinal layers, resulting in an RS1 expression similar to that observed in the wild-type and improving retinal structure and function. In support of a clinical trial, we carried out a study to evaluate the ocular safety of intravitreal administration of AAV8-scRS/IRBPhRS into 39 New Zealand White rabbits. Two dose levels of vector, 2e(10) and 2e(11) vector genomes per eye (vg/eye), were tested and ocular inflammation was monitored over a 12-week period by serial ophthalmological and histopathological analysis. A mild ocular inflammatory reaction, consisting mainly of vitreous infiltrates, was observed within 4 weeks from injection, in both 2e(10) and 2e(11) vg/eye groups and was likely driven by the AAV8 capsid. At 12-week follow-up, ophthalmological examination revealed no clinical signs of vitreitis in either of the dose groups. However, while vitreous inflammatory infiltrate was significantly reduced in the 2e(10) vg/eye group at 12 weeks, some rabbits in the higher dose group still showed persistence of inflammatory cells, histologically. In conclusion, intravitreal administration of AAV8-scRS/IRBPhRS into the rabbit eye produces a mild and transient intraocular inflammation that resolves, at a 2e(10) vg/eye dose, within 3 months, and does not cause irreversible tissue damages. These data support the initiation of a clinical trial of intravitreal administration of AAV8-scRS/IRBPhRS in XLRS patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)202-211
Number of pages10
JournalHuman gene therapy. Clinical development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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