Human gene therapy

Long-term sex-biased correction of circulating propionic acidemia disease markers by adeno-associated virus vectors.

PMID 25654275


Propionic academia (PA) occurs because of mutations in the PCCA or PCCB genes encoding the two subunits of propionyl-CoA carboxylase, a pivotal enzyme in the breakdown of certain amino acids and odd-chain fatty acids. There is no cure for PA, but dietary protein restriction and liver transplantation can attenuate its symptoms. We show here that a single intravenous injection of adeno-associated virus 2/8 (AAV8) or AAVrh10 expressing PCCA into PA hypomorphic mice decreased systemic propionylcarnitine and methyl citrate for up to 1.5 years. However, long-term phenotypic correction was always better in male mice. AAV-mediated PCCA expression was similar in most tissues in males and females at early time points and differed only in the liver. Over 1.5 years, luciferase and PCCA expression remained elevated in cardiac tissue for both sexes. In contrast, transgene expression in the liver and skeletal muscles of female, but not male, mice waned—suggesting that these tissues were major sinks for systemic phenotypic correction. These data indicate that single systemic intravenous therapy by AAV vectors can mediate long-term phenotype correction for PA. However, tissue-specific loss of expression in females reduces efficacy when compared with males. Whether similar sex-biased AAV effects occur in human gene therapy remains to be determined.

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