Widespread and efficient transduction of spinal cord and brain following neonatal AAV injection and potential disease modifying effect in ALS mice.
ABSTRACT: The architecture of the spinal cord makes efficient delivery of recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors throughout the neuraxis challenging. We describe a paradigm in which small amounts of virus delivered intraspinally to newborn mice result in robust rAAV-mediated transgene expression in the spinal cord. We compared the efficacy of rAAV2/1, 2/5, 2/8, and 2/9 encoding EGFP delivered to the hindlimb muscle (IM), cisterna magna (ICM), or lumbar spinal cord (IS) of neonatal pups. IS injection of all four capsids resulted in robust transduction of the spinal cord with rAAV2/5, 2/8, and 2/9 vectors appearing to be transported to brain. ICM injection resulted in widespread expression of EGFP in the brain, and upper spinal cord. IM injection resulted in robust muscle expression, with only rAAV2/8 and 2/9 transducing spinal motor and sensory neurons. As proof of concept, we use the IS paradigm to express murine Interleukin (IL)-10 in the spinal cord of the SOD1-G93A transgenic mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We show that expression of IL-10 in the spinal axis of SOD1-G93A mice altered the immune milieu and significantly prolonged survival. These data establish an efficient paradigm for somatic transgene delivery of therapeutic biologics to the spinal cord of mice.
Project description:G93A SOD1 transgenic mice overexpressing CCS protein develop an accelerated disease course that is associated with enhanced mitochondrial pathology and increased mitochondrial localization of mutant SOD1. Because these results suggest an effect of mutant SOD1 on mitochondrial function, we assessed the enzymatic activities of mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes in the spinal cords of CCS/G93A SOD1 and control mice. CCS/G93A SOD1 mouse spinal cord demonstrates a 55% loss of complex IV (cytochrome c oxidase) activity compared with spinal cord from age-matched non-transgenic or G93A SOD1 mice. In contrast, CCS/G93A SOD1 spinal cord shows no reduction in the activities of complex I, II, or III. Blue native gel analysis further demonstrates a marked reduction in the levels of complex IV but not of complex I, II, III, or V in spinal cords of CCS/G93A SOD1 mice compared with non-transgenic, G93A SOD1, or CCS/WT SOD1 controls. With SDS-PAGE analysis, spinal cords from CCS/G93A SOD1 mice showed significant decreases in the levels of two structural subunits of cytochrome c oxidase, COX1 and COX5b, relative to controls. In contrast, CCS/G93A SOD1 mouse spinal cord showed no reduction in levels of selected subunits from complexes I, II, III, or V. Heme A analyses of spinal cord further support the existence of cytochrome c oxidase deficiency in CCS/G93A SOD1 mice. Collectively, these results establish that CCS/G93A SOD1 mice manifest an isolated complex IV deficiency which may underlie a substantial part of mutant SOD1-induced mitochondrial cytopathy.
Project description:The motor system controls muscle movement through lower motor neurons in the spinal cord and brainstem. Lower motor neurons are efferent neurons in the central nervous system (CNS) characterized by axonal projections that reach specific targets in the periphery. Lower motor neuron lesions result in the denervation and dysfunction of peripheral skeletal muscle. Great progress has been made to develop therapeutic strategies to transduce lower motor neurons with genes. However, the widespread distribution of lower motor neurons makes their specific, extensive, and efficient transduction a challenge. In this study, we demonstrated that, compared to the other tested recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) serotypes, rAAV2-retro mediated the most efficient retrograde transduction of lower motor neurons in the spinal cord following intramuscular injection in neonatal mice. A single injection of rAAV2-retro in a single muscle enabled the efficient and extensive transduction of lower motor neurons in the spinal cord and brainstem rather than transducing only the lower motor neurons connected to the injected muscle. rAAV2-retro achieved the extensive transduction of lower motor neurons by the cerebrospinal fluid pathway. Our work suggests that gene delivery via the intramuscular injection of rAAV2-retro represents a promising tool in the development of gene therapy strategies for motor neuron diseases.
Project description:Mutations of the superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) gene are linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), an invariably fatal neurological condition involving cortico-spinal degeneration. Mechanical injury can also determine spinal cord degeneration and act as a risk factor for the development of ALS.We have performed a comparative ontological analysis of the gene expression profiles of thoracic cord samples from rats carrying the G93A SOD1 gene mutation and from wild-type littermates subjected to mechanical compression of the spinal cord. Common molecular responses and gene expression changes unique to each experimental paradigm were evaluated against the functional development of each animal model. Gene Ontology categories crucial to protein folding, extracellular matrix and axonal formation underwent early activation in both experimental paradigms, but decreased significantly in the spinal cord from animals recovering from injury after 7 days and from the G93A SOD1 mutant rats at end-stage disease. Functional improvement after compression coincided with a massive up-regulation of growth-promoting gene categories including factors involved in angiogenesis and transcription, overcoming the more transitory surge of pro-apoptotic components and cell-cycle genes. The cord from G93A SOD1 mutants showed persistent over-expression of apoptotic and stress molecules with fewer neurorestorative signals, while functional deterioration was ongoing.this study illustrates how cytoskeletal protein metabolism is central to trauma and genetically-induced spinal cord degeneration and elucidates the main molecular events accompanying functional recovery or decline in two different animal models of spinal cord degeneration.
Project description:Despite some advances in the understanding of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) pathogenesis, significant achievements in treating this disease are still lacking. Mesenchymal stromal (stem) cells (MSCs) have been shown to be effective in several models of neurological disease. To determine the effects of the intravenous injection of MSCs in an ALS mouse model during the symptomatic stage of disease, MSCs (1 × 10?) were intravenously injected in mice expressing human superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) carrying the G93A mutation (SOD1/G93A) presenting with experimental ALS. Survival, motor abilities, histology, oxidative stress markers and [³H]D-aspartate release in the spinal cord were investigated. MSC injection in SOD1/G93A mice improved survival and motor functions compared with saline-injected controls. Injected MSCs scantly home to the central nervous system and poorly engraft. We observed a reduced accumulation of ubiquitin agglomerates and of activated astrocytes and microglia in the spinal cord of MSC-treated SOD1/G93A mice, with no changes in the number of choline acetyltransferase- and glutamate transporter type 1-positive cells. MSC administration turned around the upregulation of metallothionein mRNA expression and of the activity of the antioxidant enzyme glutathione S-transferase, both associated with disease progression. Last, we observed that MSCs reverted both spontaneous and stimulus-evoked neuronal release of [³H]D-aspartate, a marker of endogenous glutamate, which is upregulated in SOD1/G93A mice. These findings suggest that intravenous administration of MSCs significantly improves the clinical outcome and pathological scores of mutant SOD1/G93A mice, thus providing the rationale for their exploitation for the treatment of ALS.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Mutation in the ubiquitously expressed cytoplasmic superoxide dismutase (SOD1) causes an inherited form of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Mutant synthesis in motor neurons drives disease onset and early disease progression. Previous experimental studies have shown that spinal grafting of human fetal spinal neural stem cells (hNSCs) into the lumbar spinal cord of SOD1(G93A) rats leads to a moderate therapeutical effect as evidenced by local ?-motoneuron sparing and extension of lifespan. The aim of the present study was to analyze the degree of therapeutical effect of hNSCs once grafted into the lumbar spinal ventral horn in presymptomatic immunosuppressed SOD1(G93A) rats and to assess the presence and functional integrity of the descending motor system in symptomatic SOD1(G93A) animals.<h4>Methods/principal findings</h4>Presymptomatic SOD1(G93A) rats (60-65 days old) received spinal lumbar injections of hNSCs. After cell grafting, disease onset, disease progression and lifespan were analyzed. In separate symptomatic SOD1(G93A) rats, the presence and functional conductivity of descending motor tracts (corticospinal and rubrospinal) was analyzed by spinal surface recording electrodes after electrical stimulation of the motor cortex. Silver impregnation of lumbar spinal cord sections and descending motor axon counting in plastic spinal cord sections were used to validate morphologically the integrity of descending motor tracts. Grafting of hNSCs into the lumbar spinal cord of SOD1(G93A) rats protected ?-motoneurons in the vicinity of grafted cells, provided transient functional improvement, but offered no protection to ?-motoneuron pools distant from grafted lumbar segments. Analysis of motor-evoked potentials recorded from the thoracic spinal cord of symptomatic SOD1(G93A) rats showed a near complete loss of descending motor tract conduction, corresponding to a significant (50-65%) loss of large caliber descending motor axons.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>These data demonstrate that in order to achieve a more clinically-adequate treatment, cell-replacement/gene therapy strategies will likely require both spinal and supraspinal targets.
Project description:There is emerging evidence that the misfolding of superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) may represent a common pathogenic event in both familial and sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). To reduce the burden of misfolded SOD1 species in the nervous system, we have tested a novel therapeutic approach based on adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated tonic expression of a DNA construct encoding a secretable single-chain fragment variable (scFv) antibody composed of the variable heavy and light chain regions of a monoclonal antibody (D3H5) binding specifically to misfolded SOD1. A single intrathecal injection of the AAV encoding the single-chain antibody in SOD1(G93A) mice at 45 days of age resulted in sustained expression of single-chain antibodies in the spinal cord, and it delayed disease onset and extension of life span by up to 28%, in direct correlation with scFv titers in the spinal cord. The treatment caused attenuation of neuronal stress signals and reduction in levels of misfolded SOD1 in the spinal cord of SOD1(G93A) mice. From these results, we propose that an immunotherapy based on intrathecal inoculation of AAV encoding a secretable scFv against misfolded SOD1 should be considered as potential treatment for ALS, especially for individuals carrying SOD1 mutations.
Project description:Cu, Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD1) has been detected within spinal cord mitochondria of mutant SOD1 transgenic mice, a model of familial ALS. The copper chaperone for SOD1 (CCS) provides SOD1 with copper, facilitates the conversion of immature apo-SOD1 to a mature holoform, and influences in yeast the cytosolic/mitochondrial partitioning of SOD1. To determine how CCS affects G93A-SOD1-induced disease, we generated transgenic mice overexpressing CCS and crossed them to G93A-SOD1 or wild-type SOD1 transgenic mice. Both CCS transgenic mice and CCS/wild-type-SOD1 dual transgenic mice are neurologically normal. In contrast, CCS/G93A-SOD1 dual transgenic mice develop accelerated neurological deficits, with a mean survival of 36 days, compared with 242 days for G93A-SOD1 mice. Immuno-EM and subcellular fractionation studies on the spinal cord show that G93A-SOD1 is enriched within mitochondria in the presence of CCS overexpression. Our results indicate that CCS overexpression in G93A-SOD1 mice produces severe mitochondrial pathology and accelerates disease course.
Project description:Traumatic injuries can undermine neurological functions and act as risk factors for the development of irreversible and fatal neurodegenerative disorders like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In this study, we have investigated how a mutation of the superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) gene, linked to the development of ALS, modifies the acute response to a gentle mechanical compression of the spinal cord. In a 7-day post-injury time period, we have performed a comparative ontological analysis of the gene expression profiles of injured spinal cords obtained from pre-symptomatic rats over-expressing the G93A-SOD1 gene mutation and from wild type (WT) littermates.The steady post-injury functional recovery observed in WT rats was accompanied by the early activation at the epicenter of injury of several growth-promoting signals and by the down-regulation of intermediate neurofilaments and of genes involved in the regulation of ion currents at the 7 day post-injury time point. The poor functional recovery observed in G93A-SOD1 transgenic animals was accompanied by the induction of fewer pro-survival signals, by an early activation of inflammatory markers, of several pro-apoptotic genes involved in cytochrome-C release and by the persistent up-regulation of the heavy neurofilament subunits and of genes involved in membrane excitability. These molecular changes occurred along with a pronounced atrophy of spinal cord motor neurones in the G93A-SOD1 rats compared to WT littermates after compression injury.In an experimental paradigm of mild mechanical trauma which causes no major tissue damage, the G93A-SOD1 gene mutation alters the balance between pro-apoptotic and pro-survival molecular signals in the spinal cord tissue from the pre-symptomatic rat, leading to a premature activation of molecular pathways implicated in the natural development of ALS.
Project description:Mutations in superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) cause familial ALS. Mutant SOD1 preferentially associates with the cytoplasmic face of mitochondria from spinal cords of rats and mice expressing SOD1 mutations. Two-dimensional gels and multidimensional liquid chromatography, in combination with tandem mass spectrometry, revealed 33 proteins that were increased and 21 proteins that were decreased in SOD1(G93A) rat spinal cord mitochondria compared with SOD1(WT) spinal cord mitochondria. Analysis of this group of proteins revealed a higher-than-expected proportion involved in complex I and protein import pathways. Direct import assays revealed a 30% decrease in protein import only in spinal cord mitochondria, despite an increase in the mitochondrial import components TOM20, TOM22, and TOM40. Recombinant SOD1(G93A) or SOD1(G85R), but not SOD1(WT) or a Parkinson's disease-causing, misfolded ?-synuclein(E46K) mutant, decreased protein import by >50% in nontransgenic mitochondria from spinal cord, but not from liver. Thus, altered mitochondrial protein content accompanied by selective decreases in protein import into spinal cord mitochondria comprises part of the mitochondrial damage arising from mutant SOD1.
Project description:Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) causes motor neuron degeneration and paralysis. No treatment can significantly slow or arrest the disease progression. Mutations in the SOD1 gene cause a subset of familial ALS by a gain of toxicity. In principle, these cases could be treated with RNAi that destroys the mutant mRNA, thereby abolishing the toxic protein. However, no system is available to efficiently deliver the RNAi therapy. Recombinant adenoassociated virus (rAAV) is a promising vehicle due to its long-lasting gene expression and low toxicity. However, ALS afflicts broad areas of the central nervous system (CNS). A lack of practical means to spread rAAV broadly has hindered its application in treatment of ALS. To overcome this barrier, we injected several rAAV serotypes into the cerebrospinal fluid. We found that some rAAV serotypes such as rAAVrh10 and rAAV9 transduced cells throughout the length of the spinal cord following a single intrathecal injection and in the broad forebrain following a single injection into the third ventricle. Furthermore, a single intrathecal injection of rAAVrh10 robustly transduced motor neurons throughout the spinal cord in a non-human primate. These results suggested a therapeutic potential of this vector for ALS. To test this, we injected a rAAVrh10 vector that expressed an artificial miRNA targeting SOD1 into the SOD1G93A mice. This treatment knocked down the mutant SOD1 expression and slowed the disease progression. Our results demonstrate the potential of rAAVs for delivering gene therapy to treat ALS and other diseases that afflict broad areas of the CNS.