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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2005 Sep;46(9):3039-45.

Gene replacement therapy rescues photoreceptor degeneration in a murine model of Leber congenital amaurosis lacking RPGRIP.

Author information

  • 1Berman-Gund Laboratory for the Study of Retinal Degenerations, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, 243 Charles Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

Retinitis pigmentosa GTPase regulator (RPGR) is a photoreceptor protein anchored in the connecting cilia by an RPGR-interacting protein (RPGRIP). Loss of RPGRIP causes Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA), a severe form of photoreceptor degeneration. The current study was an investigation of whether somatic gene replacement could rescue degenerating photoreceptors in a murine model of LCA due to a defect in RPGRIP.

METHODS:

An RPGRIP expression cassette, driven by a mouse opsin promoter, was packaged into recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV). The AAV vector was delivered into the right eyes of RPGRIP(-/-) mice by a single subretinal injection into the superior hemisphere. The left eyes received a saline injection as a control. Full-field electroretinograms (ERGs) were recorded from both eyes at 2, 3, 4, and 5 months after injection. After the final follow-up, retinas were analyzed by immunostaining or by light and electron microscopy.

RESULTS:

Delivery of the AAV vector led to RPGRIP expression and restoration of normal RPGR localization at the connecting cilia. Photoreceptor preservation was evident by a thicker cell layer and well-developed outer segments in the treated eyes. Rescue was more pronounced in the superior hemisphere coincident with the site of delivery. Functional preservation was demonstrated by ERG.

CONCLUSIONS:

AAV-mediated RPGRIP gene replacement preserves photoreceptor structure and function in a mouse model of LCA, despite ongoing cell loss at the time of intervention. These results indicate that gene replacement therapy may be effective in patients with LCA due to a defect in RPGRIP and suggest that further preclinical development of gene therapy for this disorder is warranted.

PMID:
16123399
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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