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Abstract #2273

The fate of auditory-visual cross modal plasticity after vision restoration through retinal gene therapy: Does auditory activity leave the visual cortex once vision returns?

Aimee E. Willett1, Mani Mahmoudian 1, Gloria J. Young1, Albert M. Maguire2,3, Jean Bennett1,2,3, and Manzar Ashtari1,2,4

1Center for Advanced Retinal and Ocular Therapeutics (CAROT), University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, United States, 2F.M. Kirby Center for Molecular Ophthalmology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, United States, 3Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, United States, 4Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, United States

Visual deprivation causes auditory-driven activity of occipital areas due to a process named auditory-visual cross modal plasticity. The present study explores the impact of visual restoration on this cross modal phenomenon and employs functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to describe changes in auditory task stimulation of the visual cortex after visual ability improvement in a population of eight Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis (LCA) patients. Results show the persistence of auditory-visual cross modal connectivity up to three years after gene therapy administration and reveal strong positive trends between visual ability after treatment and cross modal maintenance.

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