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Hum Gene Ther. 2001 Sep 20;12(14):1741-55.

Dystrophin expression in muscle following gene transfer with a fully deleted ("gutted") adenovirus is markedly improved by trans-acting adenoviral gene products.

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Neuromuscular Research Group, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3A 2B4.


Helper-dependent adenoviruses (HDAd) are Ad vectors lacking all or most viral genes. They hold great promise for gene therapy of diseases such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), because they are less immunogenic than E1/E3-deleted Ad (first-generation Ad or FGAd) and can carry the full-length (Fl) dystrophin (dys) cDNA (12 kb). We have compared the transgene expression of a HDAd (HDAdCMVDysFl) and a FGAd (FGAdCMV-dys) in cell culture (HeLa, C2C12 myotubes) and in the muscle of mdx mice (the mouse model for DMD). Both vectors encoded dystrophin regulated by the same cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter. We demonstrate that the amount of dystrophin expressed was significantly higher after gene transfer with FGAdCMV-dys compared to HDAdCMVDysFl both in vitro and in vivo. However, gene transfer with HDAdCMVDysFl in the presence of a FGAd resulted in a significant increase of dystrophin expression indicating that gene products synthesized by the FGAd increase, in trans, the amount of dystrophin produced. This enhancement occurred in cell culture and after gene transfer in the muscle of mdx mice and dystrophic golden retriever (GRMD) dogs, another animal model for DMD. The E4 region of Ad is required for the enhancement, because no increase of dystrophin expression from HDAdCMVDysFl was observed in the presence of an E1/E4-deleted Ad in vitro and in vivo. The characterization of these enhancing gene products followed by their inclusion into an HDAd may be required to produce sufficient dystrophin to mitigate the pathology of DMD by HDAd-mediated gene transfer.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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