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Gene Ther. 2009 May;16(5):660-8. doi: 10.1038/gt.2009.5. Epub 2009 Feb 19.

Herpes simplex virus vector-mediated gene delivery of glutamic acid decarboxylase reduces detrusor overactivity in spinal cord-injured rats.

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  • 1Department of Urology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


We examined whether replication-defective herpes simplex virus (HSV) vectors encoding the 67 kDa form of the glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD(67)) gene product, the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) synthesis enzyme, can suppress detrusor overactivity (DO) in rats with spinal cord injury (SCI). One week after spinalization, HSV vectors expressing GAD and green fluorescent protein (GFP) (HSV-GAD) were injected into the bladder wall. Rats with SCI without HSV injection (HSV-untreated) and those injected with lacZ-encoding reporter gene HSV vectors (HSV-LacZ) were used as controls. Three weeks after viral injection, continuous cystometry was performed under awake conditions in all three groups. In the HSV-GAD group, the number and amplitude of non-voiding contractions (NVCs) were significantly decreased (40-45% and 38-40%, respectively) along with an increase in voiding efficiency, compared with HSV-untreated and HSV-LacZ groups, but micturition pressure was not different among the three groups. Intrathecal application of bicuculline partly reversed the decreased number and amplitude of NVCs, and decreased voiding efficiency in the HSV-GAD group. In the HSV-GAD group, GAD(67) mRNA and protein levels were significantly increased in the L6-S1 dorsal root ganglia (DRG) compared with the HSV-LacZ group, while 57% of DRG cells were GFP-positive, and these neurons showed increased GAD(67)-like immunoreactivity compared with the HSV-LacZ group. These results indicate that GAD gene therapy effectively suppresses DO after SCI predominantly through the activation of spinal GABA(A) receptors. Thus, HSV-based GAD gene transfer to bladder afferent pathways may represent a novel approach for treatment of neurogenic DO.

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