Patients with mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPS I), a genetic deficiency of the lysosomal enzyme ?-l-iduronidase (IDUA), exhibit accumulation of glycosaminoglycans in tissues, with resulting diverse clinical manifestations including neurological, ocular, skeletal, and cardiac disease. MPS I is currently treated with hematopoietic stem cell transplantation or weekly enzyme infusions, but these therapies have significant drawbacks for patient safety and quality of life and do not effectively address some of the most critical clinical sequelae, such as life-threatening cardiac valve involvement. Using the naturally occurring feline model of MPS I, we tested liver-directed gene therapy as a means of achieving long-term systemic IDUA reconstitution. We treated four MPS I cats at 3-5 mo of age with an adeno-associated virus serotype 8 vector expressing feline IDUA from a liver-specific promoter. We observed sustained serum enzyme activity for 6 mo at ?30% of normal levels in one animal, and in excess of normal levels in three animals. Remarkably, treated animals not only demonstrated reductions in glycosaminoglycan storage in most tissues, but most also exhibited complete resolution of aortic valve lesions, an effect that has not been previously observed in this animal model or in MPS I patients treated with current therapies. These data point to clinically meaningful benefits of the robust enzyme expression achieved with hepatic gene transfer that extend beyond the economic and quality of life advantages over lifelong enzyme infusions.
Abstract Patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) often suffer chronic lung infection with concomitant inflammation, a setting that may reduce the efficacy of gene transfer. While gene therapy development for CF often involves viral-based vectors, little is known about gene transfer in the context of an infected airway. In this study, three mouse models were established to evaluate adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene transfer in such an environment. Bordetella bronchiseptica RB50 was used in a chronic, nonlethal respiratory infection in C57BL/6 mice. An inoculum of ?10(5) CFU allowed B. bronchiseptica RB50 to persist in the upper and lower respiratory tracts for at least 21 days. In this infection model, administration of an AAV vector on day 2 resulted in 2.8-fold reduction of reporter gene expression compared with that observed in uninfected controls. Postponement of AAV administration to day 14 resulted in an even greater (eightfold) reduction of reporter gene expression, when compared with uninfected controls. In another infection model, Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 was used to infect surfactant protein D (SP-D) or surfactant protein A (SP-A) knockout (KO) mice. With an inoculum of ?10(5) CFU, infection persisted for 2 days in the nasal cavity of either mouse model. Reporter gene expression was approximately ?2.5-fold lower compared with uninfected mice. In the SP-D KO model, postponement of AAV administration to day 9 postinfection resulted in only a two fold reduction in reporter gene expression, when compared with expression seen in uninfected controls. These results confirm that respiratory infections, both ongoing and recently resolved, decrease the efficacy of AAV-mediated gene transfer.
Adeno-associated virus (AAV) particles inside the nucleus of a HEK 293 cell are shown by electron microscopy. Cells have been triple-transfected for vector production and were analyzed for capsid formation three days later. Newly assembled particle are visible as seemingly unstructured conglomerates or crystal-like arrays.
Enzyme replacement therapy has revolutionized the treatment of the somatic manifestations of lysosomal storage diseases (LSD), although it has been ineffective in treating central nervous system (CNS) manifestations of these disorders. The development of neurotrophic vectors based on novel serotypes of adeno-associated viruses (AAV) such as AAV9 provides a potential platform for stable and efficient delivery of enzymes to the CNS. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of intrathecal delivery of AAV9 expressing ?-l-iduronidase (IDUA) in a previously described feline model of mucopolysaccharidosis I (MPS I). A neurological phenotype has not been defined in these animals, so our analysis focused on the biochemical and histological CNS abnormalities characteristic of MPS I. Five MPS I cats were dosed with AAV9 vector at 4-7 months of age and followed for 6 months. Treated animals demonstrated virtually complete correction of biochemical and histological manifestations of the disease throughout the CNS. There was a range of antibody responses against IDUA in this cohort which reduced detectable enzyme without substantially reducing efficacy; there was no evidence of toxicity. This first demonstration of the efficacy of intrathecal gene therapy in a large animal model of a LSD should pave the way for translation into the clinic.Molecular Therapy (2014); doi:10.1038/mt.2014.135.
The growing international market for unproven stem cell-based interventions advertised on a direct-to-consumer basis over the internet ("stem cell tourism") is a source of concern because of the risks it presents to patients as well as their supporters, domestic health care systems, and the stem cell research field. Emerging responses such as public and health provider-focused education and national regulatory efforts are encouraging, but the market continues to grow. Physicians play a number of roles in the stem cell tourism market and, in many jurisdictions, are members of a regulated profession. In this article, we consider the use of professional regulation to address physician involvement in stem cell tourism. Although it is not without its limitations, professional regulation is a potentially valuable tool that can be employed in response to problematic types of physician involvement in the stem cell tourism market.
Pseudoachondroplasia (PSACH) and autosomal dominant multiple epiphyseal dysplasia (MED) are chondrodysplasias resulting in short-limbed dwarfism, joint pain and stiffness and early onset osteoarthritis. All PSACH, and the largest proportion of MED, result from mutations in cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP). The first mutations in COMP were identified in 1995 in patients with both PSACH and MED and subsequently there has been over 30 publications describing COMP mutations in at least 250 PSACH-MED patients. However, despite these discoveries, a methodical analysis of the relationship between COMP mutations and phenotypes has not been undertaken. In particular, there has, to date, been little correlation between the type and location of a COMP mutation and the resulting phenotype of PSACH or MED. To determine if genotype to phenotype correlations could be derived for COMP, we collated 300 COMP mutations, including 25 recently identified novel mutations. The results of this analysis demonstrate that mutations in specific residues and/or regions of the type III repeats of COMP are significantly associated with either PSACH or MED. This newly derived genotype to phenotype correlation may aid in determining the prognosis of PSACH and MED, including the prediction of disease severity, and in the long term guide genetic counselling and contribute to the clinical management of patients with these diseases.
Intramuscular (IM) administration of adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors has entered the early stages of clinical development with some success, including the first approved gene therapy product in the West called Glybera. In preparation for broader clinical development of IM AAV vector gene therapy, we conducted detailed pre-clinical studies in mice and macaques evaluating aspects of delivery that could affect performance. We found that following IM administration of AAV8 vectors in mice, a portion of the vector reached the liver and hepatic gene expression contributed significantly to total expression of secreted transgenes. The contribution from liver could be controlled by altering injection volume and by the use of traditional (promoter) and non-traditional (tissue-specific microRNA target sites) expression control elements. Hepatic distribution of vector following IM injection was also noted in rhesus macaques. These pre-clinical data on AAV delivery should inform safe and efficient development of future AAV products.
Pseudoachondroplasia (PSACH) is an autosomal dominant skeletal dysplasia caused by mutations in cartilage oligomeric matrix protein (COMP) and characterised by short limbed dwarfism and early onset osteoarthritis. Mouse models of PSACH show variable retention of mutant COMP in the ER of chondrocytes, however, in each case a different stress pathway is activated and the underlying disease mechanisms remain largely unknown. T585M COMP mutant mice are a model of moderate PSACH and demonstrate a mild ER stress response. Although mutant COMP is not retained in significant quantities within the ER of chondrocytes, both BiP and the pro-apoptotic ER stress-related transcription factor CHOP are mildly elevated, whilst bcl-2 levels are decreased, resulting in increased and spatially dysregulated chondrocyte apoptosis. To determine whether the abnormal chondrocyte apoptosis observed in the growth plate of mutant mice is CHOP-mediated, we bred T585M COMP mutant mice with CHOP-null mice to homozygosity, and analysed the resulting phenotype. Although abnormal apoptosis was alleviated in the resting zone following CHOP deletion, the mutant growth plates were generally more disorganised. Furthermore, the bone lengths of COMP mutant CHOP null mice were significantly shorter at 9 weeks of age when compared to the COMP mutant mice, including a significant difference in the skull length. Overall, these data demonstrate that CHOP-mediated apoptosis is an early event in the pathobiology of PSACH and suggest that the lack of CHOP, in conjunction with a COMP mutation, may lead to aggravation of the skeletal phenotype via a potentially synergistic effect on endochondral ossification.
Abstract Recombinant adeno-associated viral vectors based on serotype 8 (AAV8) transduce liver with superior tropism following intravenous (IV) administration. Previous studies conducted by our lab demonstrated that AAV8-mediated transfer of the human low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) gene driven by a strong liver-specific promoter (thyroxin-binding globulin [TBG]) leads to high level and persistent gene expression in the liver. The approach proved efficacious in reducing plasma cholesterol levels and resulted in the regression of atherosclerotic lesions in a murine model of homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (hoFH). Prior to advancing this vector, called AAV8.TBG.hLDLR, to the clinic, we set out to investigate vector biodistribution in an hoFH mouse model following IV vector administration to assess the safety profile of this investigational agent. Although AAV genomes were present in all organs at all time points tested (up to 180 days), vector genomes were sequestered mainly in the liver, which contained levels of vector 3 logs higher than that found in other organs. In both sexes, the level of AAV genomes gradually declined and appeared to stabilize 90 days post vector administration in most organs although vector genomes remained high in liver. Vector loads in the circulating blood were high and close to those in liver at the early time point (day 3) but rapidly decreased to a level close to the limit of quantification of the assay. The results of this vector biodistribution study further support a proposed clinical trial to evaluate AAV8 gene therapy for hoFH patients.
Disease mechanisms leading to different forms of chondrodysplasia include extracellular matrix (ECM) alterations and intracellular stress resulting in abnormal changes to chondrocyte proliferation and survival. Delineating the relative contribution of these two disease mechanisms is a major challenge in understanding disease pathophysiology in genetic skeletal diseases and a prerequisite for developing effective therapies. To determine the influence of intracellular stress and changes in chondrocyte phenotype to the development of chondrodysplasia, we targeted the expression of the G2320R mutant form of thyroglobulin to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of resting and proliferating chondrocytes. Previous studies on this mutant protein have shown that it induces intracellular aggregates and causes cell stress and death in the thyroid gland. The expression and retention of this exogenous mutant protein in resting and proliferating chondrocytes resulted in a chronic cell stress response, growth plate dysplasia and reduced bone growth, without inducing any alterations to the architecture and organization of the cartilage ECM. More significantly, the decreased bone growth seemed to be the direct result of reduced chondrocyte proliferation in the proliferative zone of growth plates in transgenic mice, without transcriptional activation of a classical unfolded protein response (UPR) or apoptosis. Overall, these data show that mutant protein retention in the ER of resting and proliferative zone chondrocytes is sufficient to cause disrupted bone growth. The specific disease pathways triggered by mutant protein retention do not necessarily involve a prototypic UPR, but all pathways impact upon chondrocyte proliferation in the cartilage growth plate.
Mutant matrilin-3 (V194D) forms non-native disulphide bonded aggregates in the rER of chondrocytes from cell and mouse models of multiple epiphyseal dysplasia (MED). Intracellular retention of mutant matrilin-3 causes endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and induces an unfolded protein response (UPR) including the upregulation of two genes recently implicated in ER stress: Armet and Creld2. Nothing is known about the role of Armet and Creld2 in human genetic diseases. In this study, we used a variety of cell and mouse models of chondrodysplasia to determine the genotype-specific expression profiles of Armet and Creld2. We also studied their interactions with various mutant proteins and investigated their potential roles as protein disulphide isomerases (PDIs). Armet and Creld2 were up-regulated in cell and/or mouse models of chondrodysplasias caused by mutations in Matn3 and Col10a1, but not Comp. Intriguingly, both Armet and Creld2 were also secreted into the ECM of these disease models following ER stress. Armet and Creld2 interacted with mutant matrilin-3, but not with COMP, thereby validating the genotype-specific expression. Substrate-trapping experiments confirmed Creld2 processed PDI-like activity, thus identifying a putative functional role. Finally, alanine substitution of the two terminal cysteine residues from the A-domain of V194D matrilin-3 prevented aggregation, promoted mutant protein secretion and reduced the levels of Armet and Creld2 in a cell culture model. We demonstrate that Armet and Creld2 are genotype-specific ER stress response proteins with substrate specificities, and that aggregation of mutant matrilin-3 is a key disease trigger in MED that could be exploited as a potential therapeutic target.
Pseudoachondroplasia and multiple epiphyseal dysplasia are genetic skeletal diseases resulting from mutations in cartilage structural proteins. Electron microscopy and immunohistochemistry previously showed that the appearance of the cartilage extracellular matrix (ECM) in targeted mouse models of these diseases is disrupted; however, the precise changes in ECM organization and the pathological consequences remain unknown. Our aim was to determine the effects of matrilin-3 and COMP mutations on the composition and extractability of ECM components to inform how these detrimental changes might influence cartilage organization and degeneration. Cartilage was sequentially extracted using increasing denaturants and the extraction profiles of specific proteins determined using SDS-PAGE/Western blotting. Furthermore, the relative composition of protein pools was determined using mass spectrometry for a non-biased semi-quantitative analysis. Western blotting revealed changes in the extraction of matrilins, COMP and collagen IX in mutant cartilage. Mass spectrometry confirmed quantitative changes in the extraction of structural and non-structural ECM proteins, including proteins with roles in cellular processes such as protein folding and trafficking. In particular, genotype-specific differences in the extraction of collagens XII and XIV and tenascins C and X were identified; interestingly, increased expression of several of these genes has recently been implicated in susceptibility and/or progression of murine osteoarthritis. We demonstrated that mutation of matrilin-3 and COMP caused changes in the extractability of other cartilage proteins and that proteomic analyses of Matn3 V194D, Comp T585M and Comp DelD469 mouse models revealed both common and discrete disease signatures that provide novel insight into skeletal disease mechanisms and cartilage degradation.
Avoiding activation of immunity to vector-encoded proteins is critical to the safe and effective use of adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors for gene therapy. While commonly used serotypes, such as AAV serotypes 1, 2, 7, 8, and 9, are often associated with minimal and/or dysfunctional CD8(+) T cell responses in mice, the threshold for immune activation appears to be lower in higher-order species. We have modeled this discrepancy within the mouse by identifying two capsid variants with differential immune activation profiles: AAV serotype 8 (AAV8) and a hybrid between natural rhesus isolates AAVrh32 and AAVrh33 (AAVrh32.33). Here, we aimed to characterize the structural determinants of the AAVrh32.33 capsid that augment cellular immunity to vector-encoded proteins or those of AAV8 that may induce tolerance. We hypothesized that the structural domain responsible for differential immune activation could be mapped to surface-exposed regions of the capsid, such as hypervariable regions (HVRs) I to IX of VP3. To test this, a series of hybrid AAV capsids was constructed by swapping domains between AAV8 and AAVrh32.33. By comparing their ability to generate transgene-specific T cells in vivo versus the stability of transgene expression in the muscle, we confirmed that the functional domain lies within the VP3 portion of the capsid. Our studies were able to exclude the regions of VP3 which are not sufficient for augmenting the cellular immune response, notably, HVRs I, II, and V. We have also identified HVR IV as a region of interest in conferring the efficiency and stability of muscle transduction to AAVrh32.33.
Recombinant adeno-associated viruses (rAAVs) have been tested in humans and other large mammals without adverse events. However, one study of mucopolysaccharidosis VII correction in mice showed repeated integration of rAAV in cells from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in the Dlk1-Dio3 locus, suggesting possible insertional mutagenesis. In contrast, another study found no association of rAAV integration with HCC, raising questions about the generality of associations between liver transformation and integration at Dlk1-Dio3. Here we report that in rAAV-treated ornithine transcarbamylase (Otc)-deficient mice, four examples of integration sites in Dlk1-Dio3 could be detected in specimens from liver nodule/tumors, confirming previous studies of rAAV integration in the Dlk1-Dio3 locus in the setting of another murine model of metabolic disease. In one case, the integrated vector was verified to be present at about one copy per cell, consistent with clonal expansion. Another verified integration site in liver nodule/tumor tissue near the Tax1bp1 gene was also detected at about one copy per cell. The Dlk1-Dio3 region has also been implicated in human HCC and so warrants careful monitoring in ongoing human clinical trials with rAAV vectors.
Following gene transfer of adeno-associated virus 2/8 (AAV2/8) to the muscle, C57BL/6 mice show long-term expression of a nuclear-targeted LacZ (nLacZ) transgene with minimal immune activation. Here, we show that pre-exposure to AAV2/8 can also induce tolerance to the more immunogenic AAV2/rh32.33 vector, preventing otherwise robust T-cell activation and allowing stable transgene expression. Depletion and adoptive transfer studies showed that a suppressive factor was not sufficient to account for AAV2/8-induced tolerance, whereas further characterization of the T-cell population showed upregulation of the exhaustion markers PD1, 2B4, and LAG3. Furthermore, systemic administration of Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands at the time of AAV2/rh32.33-administration broke AAV2/8-induced tolerance, restoring T-cell activation and ?-gal clearance. As such, AAV2/8 transduction appears to lack the inflammatory signals necessary to prime a functional cytotoxic T-cell response. Inadequate T-cell priming could be explained upstream by AAV2/8s poor transduction and activation of antigen-presenting cells (APCs). Immunohistochemical analysis indicates that AAV2/8 transduction also fails to upregulate major histocompatibility complex class I (MHCI) expression on the surface of myocytes, rendering transduced cells poor targets for T-cell-mediated destruction. Overall, AAV2/8-induced tolerance in the muscle is multifactorial, spanning from poor APC transduction and activation to the subsequent priming of functionally exhausted T-cells, while simultaneously avoiding upregulation of MHCI on potential targets.
Gene therapy provides a significant opportunity to treat a variety of inherited and acquired diseases. However, adverse immune responses toward the adeno-associated virus (AAV) antigens may limit its success. The mechanisms responsible for immunity or tolerance toward AAV-encoded transgene products remain poorly defined. Studies in mice demonstrate that AAV2/8 gene transfer to liver is associated with immunological hyporesponsiveness toward both AAV vector and antigenic transgene product. To evaluate the role of activation-induced cell death (AICD) and cytokine withdrawal (intrinsic cell death) in the deletion of mature T lymphocytes, we compared immunological responses in hepatic AAV2/8 transfer in murine recipients lacking the Fas receptor, and recipients overexpressing Bcl-xL, to WT murine counterparts. Prolonged transgene expression was dependent on both Fas signaling and Bcl-xL-regulated apoptosis in T cells. Abrogation of intrinsic cell death enhanced Th1 responses, whereas AICD functioned to limit neutralizing antibody production toward AAV2/8. In addition, immune hyporesponsiveness and stable transgene expression was dependent on upregulation of FasL expression on transduced hepatocytes and a corresponding apoptosis of infiltrating Fas (+) cells. These data provide evidence that both AICD and apoptosis due to cytokine withdrawal of lymphocytes are essential for immune hyporesponsiveness toward hepatic AAV2/8-encoded transgene product in the setting of liver gene transfer.Molecular Therapy (2013); 21 12, 2227-2235. doi:10.1038/mt.2013.94.
Due to their efficient transduction potential, adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors are leading candidates for gene therapy in skeletal muscle diseases. However, immune responses toward the vector or transgene product have been observed in preclinical and clinical studies. TLR9 has been implicated in promoting AAV-directed immune responses, but vectors have not been developed to circumvent this barrier. To assess the requirement of TLR9 in promoting immunity toward AAV-associated antigens following skeletal muscle gene transfer in mice, we compared immunological responses in WT and Tlr9-deficient mice that received an AAV vector with an immunogenic capsid, AAVrh32.33. In Tlr9-deficient mice, IFN-? T cell responses toward capsid and transgene antigen were suppressed, resulting in minimal cellular infiltrate and stable transgene expression in target muscles. These findings suggest that AAV-directed immune responses may be circumvented by depleting the ligand for TLR9 (CpG sequences) from the vector genome. Indeed, we found that CpG-depleted AAVrh32.33 vectors could establish persistent transgene expression, evade immunity, and minimize infiltration of effector cells. Thus, CpG-depleted AAV vectors could improve outcome of clinical trials of gene therapy for skeletal muscle disease.
Long-term monitoring data show that hard coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) has reduced by >70 % over the past century. Although authorities and many marine scientists were in denial for many years, it is now widely accepted that this reduction is largely attributable to the chronic state of eutrophication that exists throughout most of the GBR. Some reefs in the far northern GBR where the annual mean chlorophyll a (Chl a) is in the lower range of the proposed Eutrophication Threshold Concentration for Chl a (~0.2-0.3 mg m(-3)) show little or no evidence of degradation over the past century. However, the available evidence suggests that coral diseases and the crown-of-thorns starfish will proliferate in such waters and hence the mandated eutrophication Trigger values for Chl a (~0.4-0.45 mg m(-3)) will need to be decreased to ~0.2 mg m(-3) for sustaining coral reef communities.
In this study, we investigate the interrelationship between clinical variables and working memory (WM) in Parkinsons disease (PD). Specifically, the aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between disease duration, dopaminergic medication dosage, and motor disability (UPDRS score) with WM in individuals with PD. Accordingly, we recruited three groups of subjects: unmedicated PD patients, medicated PD patients, and healthy controls. All subjects were tested on three WM tasks: short-delay WM, long-delay WM, and the n-back task. Further, PD encompasses a spectrum that can be classified either into akinesia/rigidity or resting tremor as the predominant motor presentation of the disease. In addition to studying medication effects, we tested WM performance in tremor-dominant and akinesia-dominant patients. We further correlated WM performance with disease duration and medication dosage. We found no difference between medicated and unmedicated patients in the short-delay WM task, but medicated patients outperformed unmedicated patients in the long-delay WM and n-back tasks. Interestingly, we also found that akinesia-dominant patients were more impaired than tremor-dominant patients at various WM measures, which is in agreement with prior studies of the relationship between akinesia symptom and basal ganglia dysfunction. Moreover, the results show that disease duration inversely correlates with more demanding WM tasks (long-delay WM and n-back tasks), but medication dosage positively correlates with demanding WM performance. In sum, our results show that WM impairment in PD patients depend on cognitive domain (simple vs. demanding WM task), subtype of PD patients (tremor- vs. akinesia-dominant), as well as disease duration and medication dosage. Our results have implications for the interrelationship between motor and cognitive processes in PD, and for understanding the role of cognitive training in treating motor symptoms in PD.
Transduction of retinal pigment epithelial cells with an adeno-associated viral vector (AAV) based on serotype 2 has partially corrected retinal blindness in Leber congenital amaurosis type 2. However, many applications of gene therapy for retinal blindness rely on the efficient transduction of rod and cone photoreceptor which is difficult to achieve with first generation vector technology. To address this translational need, we evaluated rod and cone photoreceptor targeting of 4 novel AAV capsids (AAV7, AAV9, rh.64R1 and rh.8R) versus AAV2 and AAV8 in a foveated retina. Eyes of 20 nonhuman primates were injected subretinally in the proximity of the fovea. While numerous vectors efficiently transduced rods, only AAV9 targeted cones both centrally and peripherally efficiently at low doses, likely due to the abundance of galactosylated glycans, the primary receptor for AAV9, on cone photoreceptors. We conclude AAV9 is an ideal candidate for strategies that require restoration of cone photoreceptor function.
Ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency (OTCD), the most common and severe urea cycle disorder, is an excellent model for developing liver-directed gene therapy. No curative therapy exists except for liver transplantation which is limited by available donors and carries significant risk of mortality and morbidity. Adeno-associated virus 8 (AAV8) has been shown to be the most efficient vector for liver-directed gene transfer and is currently being evaluated in a clinical trial for treating hemophilia B. In this study, we generated a clinical candidate vector for a proposed OTC gene therapy trial in humans based on a self-complementary AAV8 vector expressing codon-optimized human OTC (hOTCco) under the control of a liver-specific promoter. Codon-optimization dramatically improved the efficacy of OTC gene therapy. Supraphysiological expression levels and activity of hOTC were achieved in adult spf(ash) mice following a single intravenous injection of hOTCco vector. Vector doses as low as 1×10(10) genome copies (GC) achieved robust and sustained correction of the OTCD biomarker orotic aciduria and clinical protection against an ammonia challenge. Functional expression of hOTC in 40% of liver areas was found in mice treated with a low vector dose of 1×10(9) GC. We suggest that the clinical candidate vector we have developed has the potential to achieve therapeutic effects in OTCD patients.
Many genetic metabolic diseases manifest in infancy, therefore, it is important to develop effective treatments that could be implemented at this time. Adeno-associated virus serotype 8 (AAV8) gene transfer has been studied in neonatal mouse, cat, and dog models and shown some efficacy with a single hepatic injection at birth. AAV8-mediated liver gene transfer has also generated sustained therapeutic effects in feline and canine models of lysosomal storage disorders. In these models, delaying the age of vector treatment increased gene transfer stability. The growth rate of infant nonhuman primates is more similar to the growth trajectory of humans, thus infant monkeys provide an excellent model to study AAV gene transfer efficiency, stability, and safety. In this study, we report for the first time that AAV8-mediated hepatic gene transfer in infant monkeys is safe and efficient but less stable when compared to adolescent animals. Infant monkeys administered AAV8 intravenously at 1 week postnatal age achieved up to 98% transduction of hepatocytes within 7 days of injection; however, there was significant dilution of genomes and loss of transgene expression 35 days postadministration. Delaying the injection to 1 month postnatal age did not improve stability of transduction but decreased the antibody response to AAV8 capsid.
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.
Vectors based on the primate-derived adeno-associated virus serotype 8 (AAV8) are being evaluated in preclinical and clinical models. Natural infections with related AAVs activate memory B cells that produce antibodies capable of modulating the efficacy and safety of the vector. We have evaluated the biology of AAV8 gene transfer in macaque liver, with a focus on assessing the impact of pre-existing humoral immunity. Twenty-one macaques with various levels of AAV neutralizing antibody (NAb) were injected intravenously with AAV8 vector expressing green fluorescent protein. Pre-existing antibody titers in excess of 1:10 substantially diminished hepatocyte transduction that, in the absence of NAbs, was highly efficient. Vector-specific NAb diminished liver deposition of genomes and unexpectedly increased genome distribution to the spleen. The majority of animals showed high-level and stable sequestration of vector capsid protein by follicular dendritic cells of splenic germinal centers. These studies illustrate how natural immunity to a virus that is related to a vector can impact the efficacy and potential safety of in vivo gene therapy. We propose to use the in vitro transduction inhibition assay to evaluate research subjects before gene therapy and to preclude from systemic AAV8 trials those that have titers in excess of 1:10.
Gene transfer vectors based on adeno-associated virus 8 (AAV8) are highly efficient in liver transduction and can be easily administered by intravenous injection. In mice, AAV8 transduces predominantly hepatocytes near central veins and yields lower transduction levels in hepatocytes in periportal regions. This transduction bias has important implications for gene therapy that aims to correct metabolic liver enzymes because metabolic zonation along the porto-central axis requires the expression of therapeutic proteins within the zone where they are normally localized. In the present study we compared the expression pattern of AAV8 expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) in liver between mice, dogs, and non-human primates. We confirmed the pericentral dominance in transgene expression in mice with AAV8 when the liver-specific thyroid hormone-binding globulin (TBG) promoter was used but also observed the same expression pattern with the ubiquitous chicken ?-actin (CB) and cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoters, suggesting that transduction zonation is not caused by promoter specificity. Predominantly pericentral expression was also found in dogs injected with AAV8. In contrast, in cynomolgus and rhesus macaques the expression pattern from AAV vectors was reversed, i.e. transgene expression was most intense around portal areas and less intense or absent around central veins. Infant rhesus macaques as well as newborn mice injected with AAV8 however showed a random distribution of transgene expression with neither portal nor central transduction bias. Based on the data in monkeys, adult humans treated with AAV vectors are predicted to also express transgenes predominantly in periportal regions whereas infants are likely to show a uniform transduction pattern in liver.
This study evaluated six adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) from the liver-specific thyroid hormone-binding globulin (TBG) promoter made with novel capsids in canine liver-directed gene transfer. Studies in 1.5-month-old dogs, which were administered vector through a peripheral vein, showed that AAV8 capsid vectors had the most favorable performance profiles. Interestingly, the absolute levels of hepatocyte transduction achieved with AAV8 were lower in dogs compared with what had been achieved in mice and nonhuman primates. Additional studies were performed with AAV8 delivered into the hepatic artery in adult dogs, with higher doses of vector used to assess potential dose-limiting toxicities. These studies showed good transduction on day 7 in one dog that apparently was lost by day 28 in another dog through the generation of GFP-specific T cells. Each adult dog was carefully monitored for any hemodynamic changes associated with vector infusion. Both animals demonstrated mild to moderate hypotension and bradycardia, which appeared to be anesthesia-related, making it difficult to evaluate contributions of the vector.
Vectors based on adeno-associated virus (AAV) serotype 9 are candidates for in vivo gene delivery to many organs, but the receptor(s) mediating these tropisms have yet to be defined. We evaluated AAV9 uptake by glycans with terminal sialic acids (SAs), a common mode of cellular entry for viruses. We found, however, that AAV9 binding increased when terminal SA was enzymatically removed, suggesting that galactose, which is the most commonly observed penultimate monosaccharide to SA, may mediate AAV9 transduction. This was confirmed in mutant CHO Pro-5 cells deficient in the enzymes involved in glycoprotein biogenesis, as well as lectin interference studies. Binding of AAV9 to glycans with terminal galactose was demonstrated via glycan binding assays. Co-instillation of AAV9 vector with neuraminidase into mouse lung resulted in exposure of terminal galactose on the apical surface of conducting airway epithelial cells, as shown by lectin binding and increased transduction of these cells, demonstrating the possible utility of this vector in lung-directed gene transfer. Increasing the abundance of the receptor on target cells and improving vector efficacy may improve delivery of AAV vectors to their therapeutic targets.
Non-self transgenes delivered to mouse liver via adeno-associated virus (AAV) are expressed stably due to the induction of immune tolerance. However, such transgene expression has been reported to be lost in higher-order primates. We investigated whether inflammatory processes, which likely differ between species, impact the stability of transgene expression.
According to current international guidelines, patients with infrarenal or juxtarenal abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) measuring > or = 5.5 cm should undergo repair to reduce the risk of rupture. The 5.5-cm-diameter threshold is the size when the AAA rupture rate balances the mortality rates of elective open surgical AAA repair (3%). Endovascular AAA repair (EVAR) is associated with lower perioperative mortality and complication rates compared with open surgical repair. This debate addresses the issue whether the current size threshold for elective AAA repair needs to be lowered in the endovascular era. This paper supports the position that the size threshold for AAA repair should be lowered in the endovascular era.
Wegeners granulomatosis (WG) is a devastating small-vessel vasculitis in children. Standard treatment consists of immunosuppressive medications with cyclophosphamide potentially associated with significant infectious side effects, including Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PCP). Recently, rituximab, a monoclonal antibody against B cells, has successfully been used in refractory disease.
Herein, we present the European Society for Vascular Surgery Guidelines pertinent to the secondary prevention of cerebrovascular events in patients with carotid artery stenosis including lipid lowering therapy, antiplatelet therapy and other risk factor modification. These recommendations are based on current evidence from clinical trials. There is a need for aggressive prevention treatment in patients with carotid artery disease. We also discuss the diagnosis and grading of carotid artery stenosis.
Herein, we present the European Society for Vascular Surgery Guidelines pertinent to the secondary prevention of cerebrovascular events in patients with carotid artery stenosis including lipid lowering therapy, antiplatelet therapy and other risk factor modification. These recommendations are based on current evidence from clinical trials. There is a need for aggressive prevention treatment in patients with carotid artery disease. We also discuss the diagnosis and grading of carotid artery stenosis.
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is an autosomal codominant disorder caused by mutations in the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) gene. Homozygous FH patients (hoFH) have severe hypercholesterolemia leading to life threatening atherosclerosis in childhood and adolescence. Mice with germ line interruptions in the Ldlr and Apobec1 genes (Ldlr(-/-)Apobec1(-/-)) simulate metabolic and clinical aspects of hoFH, including atherogenesis on a chow diet.
Studies in mice indicate that gene transfer to liver with vectors based on adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) is characterized by immunological tolerance to antigenic transgene products. Mechanisms to explain host nonresponsiveness have focused on aberrant T-cell responses. We propose a distinct mechanism for conferring tolerance to AAV-transduced hepatocytes that relates to diminished sensitivity of the target organ to T cell-mediated effects. T cells to beta-galactosidase (beta-gal) were adoptively transferred into RAG(-/-) mice expressing beta-gal in hepatocytes due to prior administration of either Ad or AAV vectors. Adoptive transfer was associated with extinction of LacZ expression in Ad-LacZ-transduced RAG(-/-) mice and had no effect on liver LacZ expression in AAV-LacZ-transduced RAG(-/-) mice. Systemic administration of TLR ligands lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and CpG at the time of adoptive transfer did lead to extinction of LacZ expression. Systemic TLR ligands were associated with upregulation of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I and the cell adhesion molecules ICAM and VCAM as was seen with Ad-LacZ alone. These data indicate that AAV transduction lacks the inflammatory signals necessary to render hepatocyte targets for cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). Underlying liver pathology may confound vector performance and should be considered in the design of clinical trials.
Multiple epiphyseal dysplasia (MED) can result from mutations in matrilin-3, a structural protein of the cartilage extracellular matrix. We have previously shown that in a mouse model of MED the tibia growth plates were normal at birth but developed a progressive dysplasia characterised by the intracellular retention of mutant matrilin-3 and abnormal chondrocyte morphology. By 3 weeks of age, mutant mice displayed a significant decrease in chondrocyte proliferation and dysregulated apoptosis. The aim of this current study was to identify the initial post-natal stages of the disease. We confirmed that the disease phenotype is seen in rib and xiphoid cartilage and, like tibia growth plate cartilage is characterised by the intracellular retention of mutant matrilin-3. Gene expression profiling showed a significant activation of classical unfolded protein response (UPR) genes in mutant chondrocytes at 5 days of age, which was still maintained by 21 days of age. Interestingly, we also noted the upregulation of arginine-rich, mutated in early stage of tumours (ARMET) and cysteine-rich with EGF-like domain protein 2 (CRELD2) are two genes that have only recently been implicated in the UPR. This endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and UPR did not lead to increased chondrocyte apoptosis in mutant cartilage by 5 days of age. In an attempt to alleviate ER stress, mutant mice were fed with a chemical chaperone, 4-sodium phenylbutyrate (SPB). SPB at the dosage used had no effect on chaperone expression at 5 days of age but modestly decreased levels of chaperone proteins at 3 weeks. However, this did not lead to increased secretion of mutant matrilin-3 and in the long term did not improve the disease phenotype. We performed similar studies with a mouse model of Schmid metaphyseal chondrodysplasia, but again this treatment did not improve the phenotype.
Adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors hold great potential for liver-directed gene therapy. Stable and high levels of transgene expression have been achieved in many murine models. Systemic delivery of AAV vectors in nonhuman primates (NHPs) that are natural hosts of AAVs appear to be challenging due to the high prevalence of pre-existing neutralizing antibodies (NAbs). This study evaluates the performance of AAV8, hu.37, and rh.8 vectors expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) from a liver-specific promoter in rhesus macaques. Two of the animals that received AAV8 showed transduction of 24 and 40% of hepatocytes 7 days after systemic vector delivery. Importantly, expression was detected in several animals after 35 days despite the elevation of liver enzymes and development of transgene-specific T cells in liver. Pre-existing low levels of NAbs profoundly impacted the outcome of gene transfer and redirected vector DNA to spleen. We developed a sensitive in vivo passive transfer assay to detect low levels of NAbs to these novel AAV serotypes. Other strategies need to be developed to reduce immune response to the transgene in order to maintain long-term gene expression.
Vectors based on adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) are being evaluated for use in liver-directed gene therapy. Candidates have been preselected on the basis of capsid structure that plays an important role in determining performance profiles. We describe a comprehensive and statistically powered set of mouse studies designed to compare the performance of vectors based on seven novel AAV capsids. The key criteria used to select candidates for successful gene therapy are high level and stable transgene expression in the absence of toxicity. Based on these criteria, the best performing vectors, AAV8, AAVhu.37, and AAVrh.8, will be further evaluated in nonhuman primates (NHPs).
We created a hybrid adeno-associated virus (AAV) from two related rhesus macaque isolates, called AAVrh32.33, and evaluated it as a vaccine carrier for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and type A influenza virus antigens. The goal was to overcome the limitations of vaccines based on other AAVs, which generate dysfunctional T-cell responses and are inhibited by antibodies found in human sera. Injection of a Gag-expressing AAVrh32.33 vector into mice resulted in a high-quality CD8(+) T-cell response. The resulting Gag-specific T cells express multiple cytokines at high levels, including interleukin-2, with many having memory phenotypes; a subsequent boost with an adenovirus vector yielded a brisk expansion of Gag-specific T cells. A priming dose of AAVrh32.33 led to high levels of Gag antibodies, which exceed levels found after injection of adenovirus vectors. Importantly, passive transfer of pooled human immunoglobulin into mice does not interfere with the efficacy of AAVrh32.33 expressing nucleoproteins from influenza virus, as measured by protection to a lethal dose of influenza virus, which is consistent with the very low seroprevalence to this virus in humans. Studies of macaques with vectors expressing gp140 from HIV-1 (i.e., with AAVrh32.33 as the prime and simian adenovirus type 24 as the boost) demonstrated results similar to those for mice with high-level and high-quality CD8(+) T-cell responses to gp140 and high-titered neutralizing antibodies to homologous HIV-1. The biology of this novel AAV hybrid suggests that it should be a preferred genetic vaccine carrier, capable of generating robust T- and B-cell responses.
The General Anesthesia vs. Local Anesthesia for Carotid Surgery (GALA) trial did not show a difference in 30-day postoperative stroke, myocardial infarction and death rates between patients undergoing carotid endarterectomy (CEA) under local vs. general anesthesia. The present article discusses some limitations of the GALA trial. Firstly, the expected stroke and death rates following CEA is so low, that it was unlikely that the GALA trial would show any significant difference between local and general anesthesia. Secondly, preoperative statin use was not recorded. Thirdly, intraoperative shunt usa ge rates (a possible parameter for the development of stroke) varied considerably between the 2 groups (43% vs. 14%, for general vs. local anesthesia, respectively; P < .0001), as well as between UK and non-UK surgeons who always (73.6% vs. 20.8%, respectively; P < .0001), never (4.2% vs. 26%, respectively; P < .0002), or selectively (22.2% vs. 53.2%, respectively; P < .0001) used a shunt. Furthermore, no information was provided regarding the type of shunts used; for example, atraumatic shunts may be associated with lower perioperative stroke rates. These limitations could influence the interpretation of the results of the GALA trial. Due to lack of differences between the 2 groups and the presence of the above limitations, it seems likely that this trial will have little effect on clinical practice.
Gene transfer to murine liver with vectors based on novel adeno-associated virus (AAV) serotypes is efficient, stable, and safe even in the setting of antigenic transgene products. We undertook a study in cynomolgus macaques to evaluate the relevance of these findings to primates. The vectors were based on AAV serotype 7 and expressed green fluorescence protein (GFP) from the cytomegalovirus enhanced beta-actin promoter in both single-stranded and self-complementary genomes. Transduction efficiencies from the single-stranded vectors were similar to those observed in mice, although there was no advantage in primates with the self-complementary vectors. Primates elicited vibrant cytotoxic T cell responses to GFP that correlated with hepatitis and loss of transgene expression. There was no evidence of T cell activation in response to the AAV capsid. These studies indicate that under some conditions primates may activate more robust T cell responses to transgene products than is observed in mice.
The immunological sequelae of adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated gene transfer in vivo is quite complex. In murine models, most AAV capsids are associated with minimal or dysfunctional T cell responses to antigenic transgene products. In this study we compared T cell activation against AAV2/8 and AAV2/rh32.33 vectors expressing nuclear-targeted LacZ (nLacZ), GFP, or firefly luciferase in murine skeletal muscle. We show that, unlike AAV8, AAVrh32.33 yields qualitatively and quantitatively robust T cell responses to both the capsid and transgene product. AAV2/rh32.33.CB.nLacZ, but not AAV2/8, drives a high degree of cellular infiltration and a loss of detectable transgene expression in C57BL/6 mice. However, cellular immunity to AAVrh32.33 is ablated in the absence of CD4, CD40L, or CD28, permitting stable beta-galactosidase expression. Treatment of CD40L(-/-) mice with the CD40 agonist, FGK45, failed to restore the CD8 response to AAV2/rh32.33.nLacZ, suggesting that additional factors are involved. Our results suggest that specific domains within the AAVrh32.33 capsid augment the adaptive response to both capsid and transgene Ags in a CD4-dependent pathway involving CD40L signaling and CD28 costimulation. Structural comparison of the AAV8 and rh32.33 capsids has identified key differences that may drive differential immunity by affecting tropism, Ag presentation or the activation of innate immunity. This murine model of AAV-mediated cytotoxicity allows us to delineate the mechanism of viral immune activation, which is relevant to the translation of AAV technology in higher order species.
We describe a dye-metal (polyhydroxybenzenesulfonephthalein-type dye and a transition metal) complex-based total protein determination method. The binding of the complex to protein causes a shift in the absorption maximum of the dye-metal complex from 450 to 660 nm. The dye-metal complex has a reddish brown color that changes to green on binding to protein. The color produced from this reaction is stable and increases in a proportional manner over a broad range of protein concentrations. The new Pierce 660 nm Protein Assay is very reproducible, rapid, and more linear compared with the Coomassie dye-based Bradford assay. The assay reagent is room temperature stable, and the assay is a simple and convenient mix-and-read format. The assay has a moderate protein-to-protein variation and is compatible with most detergents, reducing agents, and other commonly used reagents. This is an added advantage for researchers needing to determine protein concentrations in samples containing both detergents and reducing agents.
Platelet function exhibits circadian variation with highest levels of activity in the morning and plays a central role in arterial thrombotic events, including thrombotic stroke following carotid endarterectomy (CEA). Prior to the platelet-rich thrombus occluding the carotid artery, multiple embolic signals are detected in the middle cerebral artery using transcranial Doppler ultrasound. We hypothesized that patients undergoing CEA early in the day may be at an increased stroke risk and this would manifest as an increased postoperative embolic count.
Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a life-threatening genetic disease caused by mutations in the gene encoding low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR). As a bridge to clinical trials, we generated a "humanized" mouse model lacking LDLR and apolipoprotein B (ApoB) mRNA editing catalytic polypeptide-1 (APOBEC-1) expression and expressing a human ApoB100 transgene in order to permit more authentic simulation of in vivo interactions between the clinical transgene product, human LDLR (hLDLR), and its endogenous ligand, human ApoB100. On a chow diet, the humanized LDLR-deficient mice have substantial hypercholesterolemia and a lipoprotein phenotype more closely resembling human homozygous FH (hoFH) than in previous mouse models of FH. On injection of an adeno-associated virus serotype 8 (AAV8) vector encoding the human LDLR cDNA, significant correction of hypercholesterolemia was realized at doses as low as 1.5 × 10(11) genome copies (GC)/kg. Given that some patients with heterozygous FH (heFH) cannot be adequately treated with current therapy, we then extended our studies to similarly "humanized" mice that were heterozygous for LDLR deficiency, and that have a lipoprotein phenotype resembling heterozygous FH. Injection of AAV8-hLDLR brought about significant reduction in total and LDL cholesterol at doses as low as 5 × 10(11) GC/kg. Collectively, these data demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the liver-specific AAV8-hLDLR vector in the treatment of humanized mice modeling both hoFH and heFH.
We investigated the retinal disease due to mutations in the retinitis pigmentosa GTPase regulator (RPGR) gene in human patients and in an Rpgr conditional knockout (cko) mouse model.
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