Adeno-associated viral vector serotype 9-based gene therapy for Niemann-Pick disease type A

Lluis Samaranch, Azucena Pérez-Cañamás, Beatriz Soto-Huelin, Vivek Sudhakar, Jerónimo Jurado-Arjona, Piotr Hadaczek, Jesús Ávila, John R. Bringas, Josefina Casas, Haifeng Chen, Xingxuan He, Edward H. Schuchman, Seng H. Cheng, John Forsayeth, Krystof S. Bankiewicz, María Dolores Ledesma

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33 Scopus citations


Niemann-Pick disease type A (NPD-A) is a lysosomal storage disorder characterized by neurodegeneration and early death. It is caused by loss-of-function mutations in the gene encoding for acid sphingomyelinase (ASM), which hydrolyzes sphingomyelin into ceramide. Here, we evaluated the safety of cerebellomedullary (CM) cistern injection of adeno-associated viral vector serotype 9 encoding human ASM (AAV9-hASM) in nonhuman primates (NHP). We also evaluated its therapeutic benefit in a mouse model of the disease (ASM-KO mice). We found that CM injection in NHP resulted in widespread transgene expression within brain and spinal cord cells without signs of toxicity. CM injection in the ASM-KO mouse model resulted in hASM expression in cerebrospinal fluid and in different brain areas without triggering an inflammatory response. In contrast, direct cerebellar injection of AAV9-hASM triggered immune response. We also identified a minimally effective therapeutic dose for CM injection of AAV9-hASM in mice. Two months after administration, the treatment prevented motor and memory impairment, sphingomyelin (SM) accumulation, lysosomal enlargement, and neuronal death in ASM-KO mice. ASM activity was also detected in plasma from AAV9-hASM CM-injected ASM-KO mice, along with reduced SM amount and decreased inflammation in the liver. Our results support CM injection for future AAV9-based clinical trials in NPD-A as well as other lysosomal storage brain disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaat3738
JournalScience Translational Medicine
Issue number506
StatePublished - 21 Aug 2019


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