Usher syndrome type 1B is a combined deaf-blindness condition caused by mutations in the MYO7A gene. Loss of functional myosin VIIa in the retinal pigment epithelia (RPE) and/or photoreceptors leads to blindness. We evaluated the impact of subretinally delivered UshStat, a recombinant EIAV-based lentiviral vector expressing human MYO7A, on photoreceptor function in the shaker1 mouse model for Usher type 1B that lacks a functional Myo7A gene. Subretinal injections of EIAV-CMV-GFP, EIAV-RK-GFP (photoreceptor specific), EIAV-CMV-MYO7A (UshStat) or EIAV-CMV-Null (control) vectors were performed in shaker1 mice. GFP and myosin VIIa expression was evaluated histologically. Photoreceptor function in EIAV-CMV-MYO7A treated eyes was determined by evaluating ?-transducin translocation in photoreceptors in response to low light intensity levels, and protection from light induced photoreceptor degeneration was measured. The safety and tolerability of subretinally delivered UshStat was evaluated in macaques. Expression of GFP and myosin VIIa was confirmed in the RPE and photoreceptors in shaker1 mice following subretinal delivery of the EIAV-CMV-GFP/MYO7A vectors. The EIAV-CMV-MYO7A vector protected the shaker1 mouse photoreceptors from acute and chronic intensity light damage, indicated by a significant reduction in photoreceptor cell loss, and restoration of the ?-transducin translocation threshold in the photoreceptors. Safety studies in the macaques demonstrated that subretinal delivery of UshStat is safe and well-tolerated. Subretinal delivery of EIAV-CMV-MYO7A (UshStat) rescues photoreceptor phenotypes in the shaker1 mouse. In addition, subretinally delivered UshStat is safe and well-tolerated in macaque safety studies These data support the clinical development of UshStat to treat Usher type 1B syndrome.
StarGen is an equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV)-based lentiviral vector that expresses the photoreceptor-specific adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-binding cassette transporter (ABCA4) protein that is mutated in Stargardt disease (STGD1), a juvenile macular dystrophy. EIAV vectors are able to efficiently transduce rod and cone photoreceptors in addition to retinal pigment epithelium in the adult macaque and rabbit retina following subretinal delivery. The safety and biodistribution of StarGen following subretinal delivery in macaques and rabbits was assessed.
The noradrenaline (NA) and serotonin reuptake inhibitor, sibutramine, gives effective weight loss, but full efficacy cannot be attained at approved doses due to cardiovascular side effects. We assessed in rats the contributions of NA and serotonin transporters to sibutramines hypophagic and cardiovascular effects, and whether selective 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT(1A)) receptor activation could counteract the latter without affecting the former. Food intake was assessed in freely feeding rats and cardiovascular parameters in conscious telemetered rats. Ex vivo radioligand binding was used to estimate brain monoamine transporter occupancy. Sibutramine (1-10 mg/kg p.o.) dose-dependently reduced food intake; however, 10 mg/kg p.o. markedly elevated blood pressure and heart rate. Sibutramine gave greater occupancy of NA than serotonin reuptake sites. Coadministration of the selective 5-HT(1A) agonist F-11440 (2.5 mg/kg p.o.) attenuated sibutramine-induced hypertension and tachycardia without altering its food intake effects. The selective NA reuptake inhibitors, nisoxetine or reboxetine, did not alter food intake alone, but each reduced food intake when combined with F-11440. These results suggest that sibutramine-induced hypophagic and cardiovascular effects are largely due to increased brain synaptic NA via NA reuptake inhibition, and that 5-HT(1A) activation can counter the undesirable cardiovascular effects resulting from increased sympathetic activity. Selective NA reuptake inhibitors did not reduce food intake alone but did when combined with 5-HT(1A) activation. Hence increased synaptic serotonin, via serotonin reuptake inhibition or 5-HT(1A) activation, together with increased NA, would appear to produce hypophagia. Thus weight loss with minimal cardiovascular risk could be achieved by 5-HT(1A) activation combined with NA transporter blockade.
RetinoStat(®) is an equine infectious anemia virus-based lentiviral gene therapy vector that expresses the angiostatic proteins endostatin and angiostatin that is delivered via a subretinal injection for the treatment of the wet form of age-related macular degeneration. We initiated 6-month safety and biodistribution studies in two species; rhesus macaques and Dutch belted rabbits. After subretinal administration of RetinoStat the level of human endostatin and angiostatin proteins in the vitreous of treated rabbit eyes peaked at ?1 month after dosing and remained elevated for the duration of the study. Regular ocular examinations revealed a mild to moderate transient ocular inflammation that resolved within 1 month of dosing in both species. There were no significant long-term changes in the electroretinograms or intraocular pressure measurements in either rabbits or macaques postdosing compared with the baseline reading in RetinoStat-treated eyes. Histological evaluation did not reveal any structural changes in the eye although there was an infiltration of mononuclear cells in the vitreous, retina, and choroid. No antibodies to any of the RetinoStat vector components or the transgenes could be detected in the serum from either species, and biodistribution analysis demonstrated that the RetinoStat vector was maintained within the ocular compartment. In summary, these studies found RetinoStat to be well tolerated, localized, and capable of persistent expression after subretinal delivery.
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