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Mol Ther. 2009 Dec;17(12):2000-9. doi: 10.1038/mt.2009.200. Epub 2009 Sep 15.

Rescue of pyruvate kinase deficiency in mice by gene therapy using the human isoenzyme.

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Hematopoiesis and Gene Therapy Division. Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT) y Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Raras (CIBER-ER), Madrid, Spain.


Human erythrocyte R-type pyruvate kinase deficiency (PKD) is a disorder caused by mutations in the PKLR gene that produces chronic nonspherocytic hemolytic anemia. Besides periodic blood transfusion and splenectomy, severe cases require bone marrow (BM) transplant, which makes this disease a good candidate for gene therapy. Here, the normal human R-type pyruvate kinase (hRPK) complementary (cDNA) was expressed in hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) derived from pklr deficient mice, using a retroviral vector system. These mice show a similar red blood cell phenotype to that observed in human PKD. Transduced HSCs were transplanted into myeloablated adult PKD mice or in utero injected into nonconditioned PKD fetuses. In the myeloablated recipients, the hematological manifestations of PKD were completely resolved and normal percentages of late erythroid progenitors, reticulocyte and erythrocyte counts, hemoglobin levels and erythrocyte biochemistry were restored. Corrected cells preserved their rescuing capacity after secondary and tertiary transplant. When corrected cells were in utero transplanted, partial correction of the erythrocyte disease was obtained, although a very low number of corrected cells became engrafted, suggesting a different efficiency of cell therapy applied in utero. Our data suggest that transduction of human RPK cDNA in PKLR mutated HSCs could be an effective strategy in severe cases of PKD.

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