A Single Injection of Recombinant Adeno-Associated Virus into the Lumbar Cistern Delivers Transgene Expression Throughout the Whole Spinal Cord.
ABSTRACT: The lack of methods to deliver transgene expression in spinal cord has hampered investigation of gene function and therapeutic targets for spinal cord diseases. Here, we report that a single intrathecal injection of recombinant adeno-associated virus rhesus-10 (rAAVrh10) into the lumbar cistern led to transgene expression in 60 to 90 % of the cells in the spinal cord. The transgene was expressed in all cell types, including neurons, glia, ependymal cells, and endothelial cells. Additionally, the transgene was expressed in some brain areas up to the frontal cortex and the olfactory bulb. The rAAV was distributed predominantly in the spinal cord, where its genome copy was over ten times that of the peripheral organs. Compared with intravenous injection, another method for rAAV delivery to the broad central nervous system (CNS), the intrathecal injection reduced the dosage of rAAV required to achieve similar or higher levels of transgene expression in the CNS by ~100-fold. Finally, the transduced areas were co-localized with the perivascular spaces of Virchow-Robin, from which the rAAV spreads further into the CNS parenchyma, thus suggesting that rAAV penetrated the CNS parenchyma through this pathway. Taken together, we have defined a fast and efficient method to deliver widespread transgene expression in mature spinal cord in mice. This method can be applied to stably overexpress or silence gene expression in the spinal cord to investigate gene functions in mammalian CNS. Additionally, this method can be applied to validate therapeutic targets for spinal cord diseases.
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.
Project description:One method for the delivery of therapeutic proteins to the spinal cord is to inject nonviral gene vectors including plasmid DNA into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that surrounds the spinal cord (intrathecal space). This approach has produced therapeutic benefits in animal models of disease and several months of protein expression; however, there is little information available on the immune response to these treatments in the intrathecal space, the relevance of plasmid CpG sequences to any plasmid-induced immune response, or the effect of this immune response on transgene expression.In the present study, coding or noncoding plasmids were delivered to the intrathecal space of the lumbar spinal region in rats. Lumbosacral CSF was then collected at various time points afterwards for monitoring of cytokines and transgene expression.This work demonstrates, for the first time, increased tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-1 in response to intrathecal plasmid vector injection and provides evidence indicating that this response is largely absent in a CpG-depleted vector. Transgene expression in the CSF is not significantly affected by this immune response. Expression after intrathecal plasmid injection is variable across rats but correlates with the amount of tissue associated plasmid and is increased by disrupting normal CSF flow.The data obtained in the present study indicate that plasmid immunogenicity may affect intrathecal plasmid gene therapy safety but not transgene expression in the CSF. Furthermore, the development of methods to prevent loss of plasmid via CSF flow out of the central nervous system through the injection hole and/or natural outflow routes may increase intrathecal plasmid gene delivery efficacy.
Project description: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:Effective in vivo use of adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based vectors to achieve gene-specific silencing or upregulation in the central nervous system has been limited by the inability to provide more than limited deep parenchymal expression in adult animals using delivery routes with the most clinical relevance (intravenous or intrathecal). Here, we demonstrate that the spinal pia membrane represents the primary barrier limiting effective AAV9 penetration into the spinal parenchyma after intrathecal AAV9 delivery. We develop a novel subpial AAV9 delivery technique and AAV9-dextran formulation. We use these in adult rats and pigs to show (i) potent spinal parenchymal transgene expression in white and gray matter including neurons, glial and endothelial cells after single bolus subpial AAV9 delivery; (ii) delivery to almost all apparent descending motor axons throughout the length of the spinal cord after cervical or thoracic subpial AAV9 injection; (iii) potent retrograde transgene expression in brain motor centers (motor cortex and brain stem); and (iv) the relative safety of this approach by defining normal neurological function for up to 6 months after AAV9 delivery. Thus, subpial delivery of AAV9 enables gene-based therapies with a wide range of potential experimental and clinical utilizations in adult animals and human patients.
Project description:Administration of substances directly into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that surrounds the brain and spinal cord is one approach that can circumvent the blood-brain barrier to enable drug delivery to the central nervous system (CNS). However, molecules that have been administered by intrathecal injection, which includes intraventricular, intracisternal, or lumbar locations, encounter new barriers within the subarachnoid space. These barriers include relatively high rates of turnover as CSF clears and potentially inadequate delivery to tissue or cellular targets. Nanomedicine could offer a solution. In contrast to the fate of freely administered drugs, nanomedicine systems can navigate the subarachnoid space to sustain delivery of therapeutic molecules, genes, and imaging agents within the CNS. Some evidence suggests that certain nanomedicine agents can reach the parenchyma following intrathecal administration. Here, we will address the preclinical and clinical use of intrathecal nanomedicine, including nanoparticles, microparticles, dendrimers, micelles, liposomes, polyplexes, and other colloidalal materials that function to alter the distribution of molecules in tissue. Our review forms a foundational understanding of drug delivery to the CSF that can be built upon to better engineer nanomedicine for intrathecal treatment of disease.
Project description:Injection of adeno-associated virus (AAV) into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) offers a means to achieve widespread transgene delivery to the central nervous system, where the doses can be readily translated from small to large animals. In contrast to studies with other serotypes (AAV2, AAV4 and AAV5) in rodents, we report that a naturally occurring capsid (AAV9) and rationally engineered capsid (AAV2.5) are able to achieve broad transduction throughout the brain and spinal cord parenchyma following a single injection into the CSF (via cisterna magna or lumbar cistern) in non-human primates (NHP). Using either vector at a dose of ?2 × 10(12) vector genome (vg) per 3-6 kg animal, approximately 2% of the entire brain and spinal cord was transduced, covering all regions of the central nervous system (CNS). AAV9 in particular displayed efficient transduction of spinal cord motor neurons. The peripheral organ biodistribution was highly reduced compared with intravascular delivery, and the presence of circulating anti-AAV-neutralizing antibodies up to a 1:128 titer had no inhibitory effect on CNS gene transfer. Intra-CSF delivery effectively translates from rodents to NHPs, which provides encouragement for the use of this approach in humans to treat motor neuron and lysosomal storage diseases.
Project description:The identification of the most efficient method for whole central nervous system targeting that is translatable to humans and the safest route of adeno-associated virus (AAV) administration is a major concern for future applications in clinics. Additionally, as many AAV serotypes were identified for gene introduction into the brain and the spinal cord, another key to human gene-therapy success is to determine the most efficient serotype. In this study, we compared lumbar intrathecal administration through catheter implantation and intracerebroventricular administration in the cynomolgus macaque. We also evaluated and compared two AAV serotypes that are currently used in clinical trials: AAV9 and AAVrh10. We demonstrated that AAV9 lumbar intrathecal delivery using a catheter achieved consistent transgene expression in the motor neurons of the spinal cord and in the neurons/glial cells of several brain regions, whereas AAV9 intracerebroventricular delivery led to a consistent transgene expression in the brain. In contrast, AAVrh10 lumbar intrathecal delivery led to rare motor neuron targeting. Finally, we found that AAV9 efficiently targets respiratory and skeletal muscles after injection into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which represents an outstanding new property that can be useful for the treatment of diseases affecting both the central nervous system and muscle.
Project description:Recently, it has been reported that both thrombin-sensitive protease-activated receptor 1 (PAR-1) and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) are present not only in platelets, but also in the CNS, which indicates that they have various physiological functions. In this study, we evaluated whether PAR-1/PDGF in the spinal cord could contribute to the development of a neuropathic pain-like state in mice. Thermal hyperalgesia and tactile allodynia induced by sciatic nerve ligation were significantly suppressed by repeated intrathecal injection of hirudin, which is characterized as a specific and potent thrombin inhibitor. Furthermore, a single intrathecal injection of thrombin produced long-lasting hyperalgesia and allodynia, and these effects were also inhibited by hirudin in normal mice. In nerveligated mice, the increase in the binding of [35S]GTPgammaS to membranes of the spinal cord induced by thrombin and PAR-1-like immunoreactivity (IR) in the spinal cord were each greater than those in sham-operated mice. Thermal hyperalgesia and tactile allodynia induced by sciatic nerve ligation were also suppressed by repeated intrathecal injection of either the PDGF alpha receptor (PDGFRalpha)/Fc chimera protein or the PDGFR-dependent tyrosine kinase inhibitor AG17 [(3,5-di-tert-butyl-4-hydroxybenzylidene)-malononitrile]. Moreover, thermal hyperalgesia and tactile allodynia induced by thrombin in normal mice were virtually eliminated by intrathecal pretreatment with PDGFRalpha/Fc. In immunohistochemical studies, PAR-1-like IR-positive cells in the spinal dorsal horn were mostly colocated on PDGF-like IR-positive neuronal cells. These data provide novel evidence that PAR-1 and PDGF-A-mediated signaling pathway within spinal cord neurons may be directly implicated in neuropathic pain after nerve injury in mice.
Project description:Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is produced in the cerebral ventricles and circulates within the subarachnoid space (SAS) of the brain and spinal cord, where it exchanges with interstitial fluid of the parenchyma. The access of CSF to the entire central nervous system (CNS) makes it an attractive medium for drug delivery. However, few intrathecal (IT) therapies have reached the clinic due, in part, to limited distribution and rapid clearance. Given the success of nanoparticle (NP) carriers in prolonging circulation and improving delivery of systemically administered agents, we sought to evaluate the distribution of IT injected NPs within the CNS. We administered fluorescent, 100 nm PEGylated-NPs into the cisterna magna of healthy mice and studied their distribution along the brain and spinal cord. Our data demonstrate that NPs are capable of distributing rapidly through the SAS along the entire neuraxis with reproducible, anatomically defined patterns of delivery. NPs were well retained within the leptomeninges for over 3 weeks, showing preference for ventral surfaces and minimal penetration into the CNS parenchyma. Clearance of NPs occurred across the cribriform plate into the nasal mucosa, with a small fraction of NPs localizing with nerve roots exiting the spinal column. Larger 10 µm particles were also capable of moving through the SAS but did not achieve as widespread distribution. These studies demonstrate the ability of NPs to achieve widespread delivery along the neuraxis and highlight IT administration as a potentially significant route of administration for delivery of nanomedicine to the subarachnoid space.
Project description:Delivery of adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) can achieve gene transfer to cells throughout the brain and spinal cord, potentially making many neurological diseases tractable gene therapy targets. Identifying the optimal route of CSF access for intrathecal AAV delivery will be a critical step in translating this approach to clinical practice. We previously demonstrated that vector injection into the cisterna magna is a safe and effective method for intrathecal AAV delivery in nonhuman primates; however, this procedure is not commonly used in clinical practice. More routine methods of administration into the CSF are now being explored, including intracerebroventricular (ICV) injection and injection through a lumbar puncture. In this study, we compared ICV and intracisternal (IC) AAV administration in dogs. We also evaluated vector administration via lumbar puncture in nonhuman primates, with some animals placed in the Trendelenburg position after injection, a maneuver that has been suggested to improve cranial distribution of vector. In the dog study, ICV and IC vector administration resulted in similarly efficient transduction throughout the brain and spinal cord. However, animals in the ICV cohort developed encephalitis associated with a T-cell response to the transgene product, a phenomenon that was not observed in the IC cohort. In the nonhuman primate study, transduction efficiency was not improved by placing animals in the Trendelenburg position after injection. These findings illustrate important limitations of commonly used methods for CSF access in the context of AAV delivery, and will be important for informing the selection of a route of administration for first-in-human studies.