AAV9-mediated Schwann cell-targeted gene therapy rescues a model of demyelinating neuropathy
Gene Therapy | March 10, 2021
Kagiava A, Karaiskos C, Richter J, Tryfonos C, Jennings MJ, Heslegrave AJ, Sargiannidou I, Stavrou M, Zetterberg H, Reilly MM, Christodoulou C, Horvath R and Kleopa KA
Gene Ther (2021)
Mutations in the GJB1 gene, encoding the gap junction (GJ) protein connexin32 (Cx32), cause X-linked Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT1X), an inherited demyelinating neuropathy. We developed a gene therapy approach for CMT1X using an AAV9 vector to deliver the GJB1/Cx32 gene under the myelin protein zero (Mpz) promoter for targeted expression in Schwann cells. Lumbar intrathecal injection of the AAV9-Mpz.GJB1 resulted in widespread biodistribution in the peripheral nervous system including lumbar roots, sciatic and femoral nerves, as well as in Cx32 expression in the paranodal non-compact myelin areas of myelinated fibers. A pre-, as well as post-onset treatment trial in Gjb1-null mice, demonstrated improved motor performance and sciatic nerve conduction velocities along with improved myelination and reduced inflammation in peripheral nerve tissues. Blood biomarker levels were also significantly ameliorated in treated mice. This study provides evidence that a clinically translatable AAV9-mediated gene therapy approach targeting Schwann cells could potentially treat CMT1X.
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