Ultrasound-mediated blood-brain barrier opening improves whole brain gene delivery in mice.

While most studies focus on a specific targeted area of the brain, the present work proposes to permeabilize the entire brain for gene therapy in several pathologies. Our results show that, after i.v. administration and FUS sonication in a raster scan manner, a self-complementary AAV9-CMV-GFP vector strongly and safely infected the whole brain of mice. An increase in vector DNA (19.8 times), GFP mRNA (16.4 times), and GFP protein levels (17.4 times) was measured in whole brain extracts of FUS-treated GFP injected mice compared to non-FUS GFP injected mice. In addition to this increase in GFP levels, on average, a 7.3-fold increase of infected cells in the cortex, hippocampus, and striatum was observed. No side effects were detected in the brain of treated mice. The combining of FUS and AAV-based gene delivery represents a significant improvement in the treatment of neurological genetic diseases.