The current investigation tests whether adeno-associated viral vectors (rAAV) undergo remote delivery to the spinal cord via peripheral nerve injection as previously demonstrated with adenoviral vectors. The sciatic nerves of adult rats (n = 10) were injected with either an rAAV (rAAVCMV-lacZ) or adenoviral (AdCMV-lacZ) vector (1.4 × 107 particles/ml). After 21 days, the rAAV group demonstrated significantly higher spinal cord viral expression than the adenoviral group (P < 0.024). A second group of rats was injected with rAAV expressing the green fluorescence protein (GFP) reporter gene. GFP was detected 21 days after unilateral sciatic nerve injection in the neurons of the dorsal root ganglion and spinal cord. The codistribution of the viral genome and transgene in CNS neurons was confirmed with in situ hybridization. In summary, rAAV genes are expressed in CNS neurons following peripheral nerve injection at levels exceeding those seen following remote adenovirus injection.
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