Metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD) is a lysosomal storage disease, caused by deficiency of arylsulfatase A (ASA), that manifests primarily in the white matter of the nervous system. Currently, no specific treatment exists that will reverse its fatal outcome. Replacement therapy has been hampered by the blood-brain barrier (BBB). To circumvent this problem we designed an ex vivo gene therapy strategy that includes the retrovirus-mediated ASA transduction of cells, such as activated lymphocytes, that are able to traverse the BBB or other membranes of the CNS. For this purpose, two recombinant retroviruses based on the pLXSN vector were produced, containing the wild-type ASA cDNA or a pseudodeficiency ASA cDNA, which encodes a smaller enzyme with normal activity. After transduction, ASA activity increased more than 100-fold in fibroblasts from an MLD patient. Furthermore, ASA-transduced MLD PBLs expressed 30 times higher ASA activity when compared with control PBLs. Moreover, cell culture experiments demonstrated that transduced fibroblasts could efficiently transfer ASA to deficient cells across a transwell barrier, whereas transduced MLD lymphocytes could transfer ASA to deficient fibroblasts only by direct cell-to-cell contact. Finally, ASA was taken up by normal oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells, the target myelinating glial cells for therapy in MLD. These data suggest possible short-term strategies for transfer of ASA into the CNS via transduced autologous cells while long-term strategies, related to autologous transduced bone marrow transplant, take effect in patients.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Human Gene Therapy|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 20 1998|
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