Infantile malignant osteopetrosis (IMO) is a rare, lethal, autosomal recessive disorder characterized by non-functional osteoclasts. More than 50% of the patients have mutations in the TCIRG1 gene, encoding for a subunit of the osteoclast proton pump. The aim of this study was to restore the resorptive function of IMO osteoclasts by lentiviral mediated gene transfer of the TCIRG1 cDNA. CD34(+) cells from peripheral blood of five IMO patients and from normal cord blood were transduced with lentiviral vectors expressing TCIRG1 and GFP under a SFFV promoter, expanded in culture and differentiated on bone slices to mature osteoclasts. qPCR analysis and western blot revealed increased mRNA and protein levels of TCIRG1, comparable to controls. Vector corrected IMO osteoclasts generated increased release of Ca(2+) and bone degradation product CTX-I into the media as well as increased formation of resorption pits in the bone slices, while non-corrected IMO osteoclasts failed to resorb bone. Resorption was approximately 70-80% of that of osteoclasts generated from cord blood. Furthermore, transduced CD34(+) cells successfully engrafted in NSG-mice. In conclusion we provide the first evidence of lentiviral-mediated correction of a human genetic disease affecting the osteoclastic lineage.
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