Short-term Assessment of Subfoveal Injection of Adeno-Associated Virus-Mediated hCHM Gene Augmentation in Choroideremia Using Adaptive Optics Ophthalmoscopy

Academic Article


  • Importance: Subretinal injection for gene augmentation in retinal degenerations forcefully detaches the neural retina from the retinal pigment epithelium, potentially damaging photoreceptors and/or retinal pigment epithelium cells. Objective: To use adaptive optics scanning light ophthalmoscopy (AOSLO) to assess the short-term integrity of the cone mosaic following subretinal injections of adeno-associated virus vector designed to deliver a functional version of the CHM gene (AAV2-hCHM) in patients with choroideremia. Design, Setting, and Participants: This longitudinal case series study enrolled adult patients with choroideremia from February 2015 to January 2016 in the US. To be included in the study, study participants must have received uniocular subfoveal injections of low-dose (5 × 1010vector genome per eye) or high-dose (1 × 1011vector genome per eye) AAV2-hCHM. Analysis began February 2015. Main Outcomes and Measures: The macular regions of both eyes were imaged before and 1 month after injection using a custom-built multimodal AOSLO. Postinjection cone inner segment mosaics were compared with preinjection mosaics at multiple regions of interest. Colocalized spectral-domain optical coherence tomography and dark-adapted cone sensitivity was also acquired at each time point. Results: Nine study participants ranged in age from 26 to 50 years at the time of enrollment, and all were White men. Postinjection AOSLO images showed preservation of the cone mosaic in all 9 AAV2-hCHM-injected eyes. Mosaics appeared intact and contiguous 1 month postinjection, with the exception of foveal disruption in 1 patient. Optical coherence tomography showed foveal cone outer segment shortening postinjection. Cone-mediated sensitivities were unchanged in 8 of 9 injected and 9 of 9 uninjected eyes. One participant showed acute loss of foveal optical coherence tomography cone outer segment-related signals along with cone sensitivity loss that colocalized with disruption of the mosaic on AOSLO. Conclusions and Relevance: Integrity of the cone mosaic is maintained following subretinal delivery of AAV2-hCHM, providing strong evidence in support of the safety of the injections. Minor foveal thinning observed following surgery corresponds with short-term cone outer segment shortening rather than cone cell loss. Foveal cone loss in 1 participant raises the possibility of individual vulnerability to the subretinal injection. 2022 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Morgan JIW; Jiang YY; Vergilio GK; Serrano LW; Pearson DJ; Bennett J; Maguire AM; Aleman TS
  • Start Page

  • 411
  • End Page

  • 420
  • Volume

  • 140
  • Issue

  • 4