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Brain Res Brain Res Protoc. 2005 Dec;16(1-3):37-43.

The assays of activities and function of TH, AADC, and GCH1 and their potential use in ex vivo gene therapy of PD.

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  • 1Beijing Institute for Neurosciences, Beijing Center for Neural Regeneration and Repairing, Capital University of Medical Science, Beijing 100069, China.


In the past decades, there have been numerous studies in the gene therapy for Parkinson's disease (PD), especially in delivering genes of enzymes for dopamine (DA) synthesis. Gene therapy in PD appears to be at the brink of the clinical study phase. However, there are many questions that need to be solved before this approach can be contemplated clinically, especially the question about the control of DA production because too much DA could cause toxicity. Until recently, few studies have investigated the relation between DA production and PD improvement and respective expressed human tyrosine hydroxylase (hTH), human GTP-cyclohydrolase 1 (hGCH1), and human aromatic acid decarboxylase (hAADC) in ex vivo gene therapy for PD. Now, we have developed a simple, fast, and reliable method to assay the activities of TH and AADC and have provided the possibility of ex vivo gene therapy for PD by genetically modifying cells with separate hTH, hGCH1, and hAADC genes. Using the method, we found though hTH, hGCH1, and hAADC genes were expressed, respectively, they could fulfil the function of DA synthesis by incubating together in vitro, and more DA was synthesized in vitro when hTH, hGCH1, and hAADC genes were expressed together rather than hTH and hAADC genes expressed or hTH expressed. The result suggests that we could easily control DA production in ex vivo gene therapy before transplantation. By combining this method and microdialysis, we also could further investigate the DA production in vitro and in vivo and then decide the optimal number and ratio of different transduced cells to improve the therapy of PD. Thus, the method has potential use in ex vivo gene therapy of PD.

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