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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Dec 9;94(25):14083-8.

Midbrain injection of recombinant adeno-associated virus encoding rat glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor protects nigral neurons in a progressive 6-hydroxydopamine-induced degeneration model of Parkinson's disease in rats.

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  • 1Department of Gene Therapy Applications, Cell Genesys Inc., 342 Lakeside Drive, Foster City, CA 94404, USA. rmandel@hisemail.com


A recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vector capable of infecting cells and expressing rat glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (rGDNF), a putative central nervous system dopaminergic survival factor, under the control of a potent cytomegalovirus (CMV) immediate/early promoter (AAV-MD-rGDNF) was constructed. Two experiments were performed to evaluate the time course of expression of rAAV-mediated GDNF protein expression and to test the vector in an animal model of Parkinson's disease. To evaluate the ability of rAAV-rGDNF to protect nigral dopaminergic neurons in the progressive Sauer and Oertel 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesion model, rats received perinigral injections of either rAAV-rGDNF virus or rAAV-lacZ control virus 3 weeks prior to a striatal 6-OHDA lesion and were sacrificed 4 weeks after 6-OHDA. Cell counts of back-labeled fluorogold-positive neurons in the substantia nigra revealed that rAAV-MD-rGDNF protected a significant number of cells when compared with cell counts of rAAV-CMV-lacZ-injected rats (94% vs. 51%, respectively). In close agreement, 85% of tyrosine hydroxylase-positive cells remained in the nigral rAAV-MD-rGDNF group vs. only 49% in the lacZ group. A separate group of rats were given identical perinigral virus injections and were sacrificed at 3 and 10 weeks after surgery. Nigral GDNF protein expression remained relatively stable over the 10 weeks investigated. These data indicate that the use of rAAV, a noncytopathic viral vector, can promote delivery of functional levels of GDNF in a degenerative model of Parkinson's disease.

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