Direct Comparison of Epifluorescence and Immunostaining for Assessing Viral Mediated Gene Expression in the Primate Brain.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Viral vector technologies are commonly used in neuroscience research to understand and manipulate neural circuits, but successful applications of these technologies in non-human primate models have been inconsistent. An essential component to improve these technologies is an impartial and accurate assessment of the effectiveness of different viral constructs in the primate brain. We tested a diverse array of viral vectors delivered to the brain and extraocular muscles of macaques and compared three methods for histological assessment of viral-mediated fluorescent transgene expression: epifluorescence (Epi), immunofluorescence (IF), and immunohistochemistry (IHC). Importantly, IF and IHC identified a greater number of transduced neurons compared to Epi. Furthermore, IF and IHC reliably provided enhanced visualization of transgene in most cellular compartments (i.e. , dendritic, axonal, and terminal fields), whereas the degree of labeling provided by Epi was inconsistent and predominantly restricted to somas and apical dendrites. Because Epi signals are unamplified (in contrast to IF and IHC), Epi may provide a more veridical assessment for the amount of accumulated transgene and, thus, the potential to chemogenetically or optogenetically manipulate neuronal activity. The comparatively weak Epi signals suggest that the current generations of viral constructs, regardless of delivered transgene, are not optimized for primates. This reinforces an emerging viewpoint that viral vectors tailored for the primate brain are necessary for basic research and human gene therapy.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Daw, TB; El-Nahal, HG; Basso, MA; Jun, EJ; Bautista, AR; Samulski, RJ; Sommer, MA; Bohlen, MO

Published Date

  • March 2023

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 34 / 5-6

Start / End Page

  • 228 - 246

PubMed ID

  • 36719771

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC10031143

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1557-7422

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1043-0342

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1089/hum.2022.194


  • eng