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Hum Gene Ther. 2002 Feb 10;13(3):345-54.

Behavioral recovery in a primate model of Parkinson's disease by triple transduction of striatal cells with adeno-associated viral vectors expressing dopamine-synthesizing enzymes.

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Department of Neurology, Jichi Medical School, Tochigi, 329-0498 Japan.


One potential strategy for gene therapy of Parkinson's disease (PD) is the local production of dopamine (DA) in the striatum induced by restoring DA-synthesizing enzymes. In addition to tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and aromatic-L-amino-acid decarboxylase (AADC), GTP cyclohydrolase I (GCH) is necessary for efficient DA production. Using adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors, we previously demonstrated that expression of these three enzymes in the striatum resulted in long-term behavioral recovery in rat models of PD. We here extend the preclinical exploration to primate models of PD. Mixtures of three separate AAV vectors expressing TH, AADC, and GCH, respectively, were stereotaxically injected into the unilateral putamen of 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine-treated monkeys. Coexpression of the enzymes in the unilateral putamen resulted in remarkable improvement in manual dexterity on the contralateral to the AAV-TH/-AADC/-GCH-injected side. Behavioral recovery persisted during the observation period (four monkeys: 48 days, 65 days, 50 days, and >10 months, each). TH-immunoreactive (TH-IR), AADC-IR, and GCH-IR cells were present in a large region of the putamen. Microdialysis demonstrated that concentrations of DA in the AAV-TH/-AADC/-GCH-injected putamen were increased compared with the control side. Our results show that AAV vectors efficiently introduce DA-synthesizing enzyme genes into the striatum of primates with restoration of motor functions. This triple transduction method may offer a potential therapeutic strategy for PD.

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