Delivery of herpes simplex virus amplicon-based vectors to the dentate gyrus does not alter hippocampal synaptic transmission in vivo GENE THERAPY Dumas, T. D., McLaughlin, J. R., Ho, D. Y., Meier, T. J., Sapolsky, R. M. 1999; 6 (10): 1679-1684


Herpes simplex virus type-1 (HSV) amplicon vectors containing neuroprotective genes can alter cell physiology and enhance survival following various insults. However, to date, little is known about effects of viral infection itself (independent of the gene delivered) on neuronal physiology. Electrically-evoked synaptic responses are routinely recorded to measure functional alterations in the nervous system and were used here to assess the potential capability of HSV vectors to disrupt physiology of the hippocampus (a forebrain structure involved in learning that is highly susceptible to necrotic insult, making it a frequent target in gene therapy research). Population excitatory post-synaptic potentials (EPSPs) were recorded in the dentate gyrus (DG) and in area CA3 in vivo 72 h after infusion of an HSV vector expressing a reporter gene (lacZ) or vehicle into the DG. Evoked perforant path (PP-DG) or mossy fiber (MF-CA3) EPSPs slope values measured across input/output (I/O) curves were not altered by infection. Paired-pulse facilitation at either recording site was also unaffected. X-gal-positive granule cells surrounded the recording electrode (PP-DG recording) and stimulating electrode tracts (MF-CA3 recording) in animals that received vector, suggesting that we had measured function, at least in part, in infected neurons. Because of the negative electrophysiological result, we sought to deliver a gene with an HSV amplicon which would affect the measured endpoints, as a positive control. Delivery of calbindin D28kpotentiated PP-DG synaptic strength, indicating that our recording system could detect alterations due to vector expression. Thus, the data indicate that HSV vectors are benign, in regard to effects on synaptic function, and support the use of these vectors as a safe method to deliver selected genes to the central nervous system.

View details for Web of Science ID 000082957100006

View details for PubMedID 10516716