Adeno-associated virus–mediated (AAV-mediated) CRISPR editing is a revolutionary approach for treating inherited diseases. Sustained, often life-long mutation correction is required for treating these diseases. Unfortunately, this has never been demonstrated with AAV CRISPR therapy. We addressed this question in the mdx model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). DMD is caused by dystrophin gene mutation. Dystrophin deficiency leads to ambulation loss and cardiomyopathy. We treated 6-week-old mice intravenously and evaluated disease rescue at 18 months. Surprisingly, nominal dystrophin was restored in skeletal muscle. Cardiac dystrophin was restored, but histology and hemodynamics were not improved. To determine the underlying mechanism, we evaluated components of the CRISPR-editing machinery. Intriguingly, we found disproportional guide RNA (gRNA) vector depletion. To test whether this is responsible for the poor outcome, we increased the gRNA vector dose and repeated the study. This strategy significantly increased dystrophin restoration and reduced fibrosis in all striated muscles at 18 months. Importantly, skeletal muscle function and cardiac hemodynamics were significantly enhanced. Interestingly, we did not see selective depletion of the gRNA vector after intramuscular injection. Our results suggest that gRNA vector loss is a unique barrier for systemic AAV CRISPR therapy. This can be circumvented by vector dose optimization.
Chady H. Hakim, Nalinda B. Wasala, Christopher E. Nelson, Lakmini P. Wasala, Yongping Yue, Jacqueline A. Louderman, Thais B. Lessa, Aihua Dai, Keqing Zhang, Gregory J. Jenkins, Michael E. Nance, Xiufang Pan, Kasun Kodippili, N. Nora Yang, Shi-jie Chen, Charles A. Gersbach, Dongsheng Duan
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.