The autosomal recessive neuromuscular disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by loss of survival motor neuron (SMN) protein. Molecular pathways that are disrupted downstream of SMN therefore represent potentially attractive therapeutic targets for SMA. Here, we demonstrate that therapeutic targeting of ubiquitin pathways disrupted as a consequence of SMN depletion, by increasing levels of one key ubiquitination enzyme (ubiquitin-like modifier activating enzyme 1 [UBA1]), represents a viable approach for treating SMA. Loss of UBA1 was a conserved response across mouse and zebrafish models of SMA as well as in patient induced pluripotent stem cell–derive motor neurons. Restoration of UBA1 was sufficient to rescue motor axon pathology and restore motor performance in SMA zebrafish. Adeno-associated virus serotype 9–UBA1 (AAV9-UBA1) gene therapy delivered systemic increases in UBA1 protein levels that were well tolerated over a prolonged period in healthy control mice. Systemic restoration of UBA1 in SMA mice ameliorated weight loss, increased survival and motor performance, and improved neuromuscular and organ pathology. AAV9-UBA1 therapy was also sufficient to reverse the widespread molecular perturbations in ubiquitin homeostasis that occur during SMA. We conclude that UBA1 represents a safe and effective therapeutic target for the treatment of both neuromuscular and systemic aspects of SMA.
Rachael A. Powis, Evangelia Karyka, Penelope Boyd, Julien Côme, Ross A. Jones, Yinan Zheng, Eva Szunyogova, Ewout J.N. Groen, Gillian Hunter, Derek Thomson, Thomas M. Wishart, Catherina G. Becker, Simon H. Parson, Cécile Martinat, Mimoun Azzouz, Thomas H. Gillingwater
Cardiovascular progenitor cells (CPCs) expressing the ISL1-LIM–homeodomain transcription factor contribute developmentally to cardiomyocytes in all 4 chambers of the heart. Here, we show that ISL1-CPCs can be applied to myocardial regeneration following injury. We used a rapid 3D methylcellulose approach to form murine and human ISL1-CPC spheroids that engrafted after myocardial infarction in murine hearts, where they differentiated into cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells, integrating into the myocardium and forming new blood vessels. ISL1-CPC spheroid–treated mice exhibited reduced infarct area and increased blood vessel formation compared with control animals. Moreover, left ventricular (LV) contractile function was significantly better in mice transplanted with ISL1-CPCs 4 weeks after injury than that in control animals. These results provide proof-of-concept of a cardiac repair strategy employing ISL1-CPCs that, based on our previous lineage-tracing studies, are committed to forming heart tissue, in combination with a robust methylcellulose spheroid–based delivery approach.
Oscar Bartulos, Zhen Wu Zhuang, Yan Huang, Nicole Mikush, Carol Suh, Alda Bregasi, Lin Wang, William Chang, Diane S. Krause, Lawrence H. Young, Jordan S. Pober, Yibing Qyang
Mucopolysaccharidosis type II (MPSII) is an X-linked lysosomal storage disease characterized by severe neurologic and somatic disease caused by deficiency of iduronate-2-sulfatase (IDS), an enzyme that catabolizes the glycosaminoglycans heparan and dermatan sulphate. Intravenous enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) currently constitutes the only approved therapeutic option for MPSII. However, the inability of recombinant IDS to efficiently cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) limits ERT efficacy in treating neurological symptoms. Here, we report a gene therapy approach for MPSII through direct delivery of vectors to the CNS. Through a minimally invasive procedure, we administered adeno-associated virus vectors encoding IDS (AAV9-
Sandra Motas, Virginia Haurigot, Miguel Garcia, Sara Marcó, Albert Ribera, Carles Roca, Xavier Sánchez, Víctor Sánchez, Maria Molas, Joan Bertolin, Luca Maggioni, Xavier León, Jesús Ruberte, Fatima Bosch
The intrathecal (IT) dosing route offers a seemingly obvious solution for delivering drugs directly to the central nervous system. However, gaps in understanding drug molecule behavior within the anatomically and kinetically unique environment of the mammalian IT space have impeded the establishment of pharmacokinetic principles for optimizing regional drug exposure along the neuraxis. Here, we have utilized high-resolution single-photon emission tomography with X-ray computed tomography to study the behavior of multiple molecular imaging tracers following an IT bolus injection, with supporting histology, autoradiography, block-face tomography, and MRI. Using simultaneous dual-isotope imaging, we demonstrate that the regional CNS tissue exposure of molecules with varying chemical properties is affected by IT space anatomy, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) dynamics, CSF clearance routes, and the location and volume of the injected bolus. These imaging approaches can be used across species to optimize the safety and efficacy of IT drug therapy for neurological disorders.
Daniel A. Wolf, Jacob Y. Hesterman, Jenna M. Sullivan, Kelly D. Orcutt, Matthew D. Silva, Merryl Lobo, Tyler Wellman, Jack Hoppin, Ajay Verma
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