Gene therapy is emerging as a therapeutic modality for treating disorders of the retina. Photoreceptor cells are the primary cell type affected in many inherited diseases of retinal degeneration. Successfully treating these diseases with gene therapy requires the identification of efficient and safe targeting vectors that can transduce photoreceptor cells. One serotype of adeno-associated virus, AAV2, has been used successfully in clinical trials to treat a form of congenital blindness that requires transduction of the supporting cells of the retina in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE). Here, we determined the dose required to achieve targeting of AAV2 and AAV8 vectors to photoreceptors in nonhuman primates. Transgene expression in animals injected subretinally with various doses of AAV2 or AAV8 vectors carrying a green fluorescent protein transgene was correlated with surgical, clinical, and immunological observations. Both AAV2 and AAV8 demonstrated efficient transduction of RPE, but AAV8 was markedly better at targeting photoreceptor cells. These preclinical results provide guidance for optimal vector and dose selection in future human gene therapy trials to treat retinal diseases caused by loss of photoreceptors.
The cytokine, interleukin-1? (IL1?) is a sleep regulatory substance whose expression is enhanced in response to neuronal stimulation. In this study, IL1? mRNA and immunoreactivity (IR) are evaluated after acute cocaine. First, IL1? mRNA levels were measured at the start or end of the light period after saline or acute exposure to a low dose of cocaine (5 mg/kg, intraperitoneal (ip)). IL1? mRNA levels after an acute exposure to cocaine (5 mg/kg, ip) at dark onset were significantly higher than those obtained from rats sacrificed after an acute exposure to saline in the piriform and somatosensory cortex, and nucleus accumbens. Acute exposure of cocaine at 5 mg/kg at dark onset also increased the number of IL1?-immunoreactive astrocytes in layer I-V of the prefrontal cortex, somatosensory cortex and nucleus accumbens. These data suggest that IL1? mRNA and protein levels in some of the dopaminergically innervated brain regions are responsive to cocaine.
The characteristic neurological feature of many neurogenetic diseases is intellectual disability. Although specific neuropathological features have been described, the mechanisms by which specific gene defects lead to cognitive impairment remain obscure. To gain insight into abnormal functions occurring secondary to a single gene defect, whole transcriptome analysis was used to identify molecular and cellular pathways that are dysregulated in the brain in a mouse model of a lysosomal storage disorder (LSD) (mucopolysaccharidosis [MPS] VII). We assayed multiple anatomical regions separately, in a large cohort of normal and diseased mice, which greatly increased the number of significant changes that could be detected compared to past studies in LSD models. We found that patterns of aberrant gene expression and involvement of multiple molecular and cellular systems varied significantly between brain regions. A number of changes revealed unexpected system and process alterations, such as up-regulation of the immune system with few inflammatory changes (a significant difference from the closely related MPS IIIb model), down-regulation of major oligodendrocyte genes even though white matter changes are not a feature histopathologically, and a plethora of developmental gene changes. The involvement of multiple neural systems indicates that the mechanisms of neuropathology in this type of disease are much broader than previously appreciated. In addition, the variation in gene dysregulation between brain regions indicates that different neuropathologic mechanisms may predominate within different regions of a diseased brain caused by a single gene mutation.
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