Endobronchial Aerosolized AAV1.SERCA2a Gene Therapy in a Pulmonary Hypertension Pig Model: Addressing the Lung Delivery Bottleneck

Olympia Bikou, Serena Tharakan, Kelly P. Yamada, Taro Kariya, Jaume Aguero, Alexandra Gordon, Renata Mazurek, Tadao Aikawa, Erik Kohlbrenner, Kenneth M. Fish, Roger J. Hajjar, Kiyotake Ishikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


A disappointing number of new therapies for pulmonary hypertension (PH) have been successfully translated to the clinic. Adeno-associated viral (AAV) gene therapy has the potential to treat the underlying pathology of PH, but the challenge remains in efficient and safe delivery. The aims of this study were (1) to test the efficacy of endobronchial aerosolization delivery for AAV1-mediated sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase 2a (SERCA2a) gene therapy in a PH pig model and (2) to identify the most efficient airway administration modality for in-lung gene therapy in PH. We hypothesized that delivery to the distal bronchi increases lung viral uptake and avoids virus loss in off-target compartments. In part 1 of the study, PH was induced in pigs by surgically banding the pulmonary veins. Two months postsurgery, 1 × 1013 viral genomes (vg) of AAV1.SERCA2a or saline was endobronchially aerosolized using a bronchoscope. Two months after aerosolization, high vg copies (vgc) were detected in the lungs, accompanied by functional and morphometrical amelioration of PH. In part 2 of the study, we directly compared the endobronchial aerosolization gene delivery to the intratracheal aerosolization in PH pigs. Endobronchial delivery demonstrated higher viral expression (6,719 ± 927 vs. 1,444 ± 402 vgc/100 ng DNA, p = 0.0017), suggesting this delivery modality is a promising method for clinical AAV gene therapy for PH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-559
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Gene Therapy
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - 1 May 2022


  • AAV
  • Airway delivery
  • Bronchoscope
  • Large animal
  • Pulmonary hypertension


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