Gene Therapy Center; Department of Pediatrics; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
Medical Subject Headings
Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase, Long-Chain; Dependovirus; Gene Therapy; Genetic Vectors
Allergy and Immunology | Genetics and Genomics | Pediatrics
Very long-chain acyl-coA dehydrogenase (VLCAD) is the rate-limiting step in mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation. VLCAD-deficient mice and patients clinical symptoms stem from not only an energy deficiency but also long-chain metabolite accumulations. VLCAD-deficient mice were treated systemically with 1 x 10(12) vector genomes of recombinant adeno-associated virus 9 (rAAV9)-VLCAD. Biochemical correction was observed in vector-treated mice beginning 2 weeks postinjection, as characterized by a significant drop in long-chain fatty acyl accumulates in whole blood after an overnight fast. Changes persisted through the termination point around 20 weeks postinjection. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) revealed normalization of intramuscular lipids in treated animals. Correction was not observed in liver tissue extracts, but cardiac muscle extracts showed significant reduction of long-chain metabolites. Disease-specific phenotypes were characterized, including thermoregulation and maintenance of euglycemia after a fasting cold challenge. Internal body temperatures of untreated VLCAD(-/-) mice dropped below 20 degrees C and the mice became lethargic, requiring euthanasia. In contrast, all rAAV9-treated VLCAD(-/-) mice and the wild-type controls maintained body temperatures. rAAV9-treated VLCAD(-/-) mice maintained euglycemia, whereas untreated VLCAD(-/-) mice suffered hypoglycemia following a fasting cold challenge. These promising results suggest rAAV9 gene therapy as a potential treatment for VLCAD deficiency in humans.