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Mol Ther. 2001 Oct;4(4):331-8.

Gene therapy of a mouse model of protoporphyria with a self-inactivating erythroid-specific lentiviral vector without preselection.

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Laboratoire de Pathologie Moléculaire et Thérapie Génique EA 484, Université V. Segalen, 146 rue Léo Saignat, 33076 Bordeaux, France.


Successful treatment of blood disorders by gene therapy has several complications, one of which is the frequent lack of selective advantage of genetically corrected cells. Erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP), caused by a ferrochelatase deficiency, is a good model of hematological genetic disorders with a lack of spontaneous in vivo selection. This disease is characterized by accumulation of protoporphyrin in red blood cells, bone marrow, and other organs, resulting in severe skin photosensitivity. Here we develop a self-inactivating lentiviral vector containing human ferrochelatase cDNA driven by the human ankyrin-1/beta-globin HS-40 chimeric erythroid promoter/enhancer. We collected bone marrow cells from EPP male donor mice for lentiviral transduction and injected them into lethally irradiated female EPP recipient mice. We observed a high transduction efficiency of hematopoietic stem cells resulting in effective gene therapy of primary and secondary recipient EPP mice without any selectable system. Skin photosensitivity was corrected for all secondary engrafted mice and was associated with specific ferrochelatase expression in the erythroid lineage. An erythroid-specific expression was sufficient to reverse most of the clinical and biological manifestations of the disease. This improvement in the efficiency of gene transfer with lentiviruses may contribute to the development of successful clinical protocols for erythropoietic diseases.

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