Alpha 1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency, a hereditary disorder characterized by low serum levels of functional AAT, is associated with early development of panacinar emphysema. AAT inhibits serine proteases, including neutrophil elastase, protecting the lung from proteolytic destruction. Cigarette smoke, pollution, and inflammatory cell–mediated oxidation of methionine (M) 351 and 358 inactivates AAT, limiting lung protection. In vitro studies using amino acid substitutions demonstrated that replacing M351 with valine (V) and M358 with leucine (L) on a normal M1 alanine (A) 213 background provided maximum antiprotease protection despite oxidant stress. We hypothesized that a onetime administration of a serotype 8 adeno-associated virus (AAV8) gene transfer vector coding for the oxidation-resistant variant AAT (A213/V351/L358; 8/AVL) would maintain antiprotease activity under oxidant stress compared with normal AAT (A213/M351/M358; 8/AMM). 8/AVL was administered via intravenous (IV) and intrapleural (IPL) routes to C57BL/6 mice. High, dose-dependent AAT levels were found in the serum and lung epithelial lining fluid (ELF) of mice administered 8/AVL or 8/AMM by IV or IPL. 8/AVL serum and ELF retained serine protease–inhibitory activity despite oxidant stress while 8/AMM function was abolished. 8/AVL represents a second-generation gene therapy for AAT deficiency providing effective antiprotease protection even with oxidant stress.
Meredith L. Sosulski, Katie M. Stiles, Esther Z. Frenk, Fiona M. Hart, Yuki Matsumura, Bishnu P. De, Stephen M. Kaminsky, Ronald G. Crystal