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Hum Gene Ther. 2010 Sep;21(9):1147-54. doi: 10.1089/hum.2010.008.

Liver-directed recombinant adeno-associated viral gene delivery rescues a lethal mouse model of methylmalonic acidemia and provides long-term phenotypic correction.

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  • 1Organic Acid Research Section, Genetics and Molecular Biology Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Methylmalonic acidemia is a severe metabolic disorder caused by a deficiency of the ubiquitously expressed mitochondrial enzyme, methylmalonyl-CoA mutase (MUT). Liver transplantation has been used to treat a small number of patients with variable success, and whether liver-directed gene therapy might be employed in such a pleiotropic metabolic disorder is uncertain. In this study, we examined the therapeutic effects of hepatocyte-directed delivery of the Mut gene to mice with a severe form of methylmalonic acidemia. We show that a single intrahepatic injection of recombinant adeno-associated virus serotype 8 expressing the Mut gene under the control of the liver-specific thyroxine-binding globulin (TBG) promoter is sufficient to rescue Mut(-/-) mice from neonatal lethality and provide long-term phenotypic correction. Treated Mut(-/-) mice lived beyond 1 year of age, had improved growth, lower plasma methylmalonic acid levels, and an increased capacity to oxidize [1-(13)C]propionate in vivo. The older treated mice showed increased Mut transcription, presumably mediated by upregulation of the TBG promoter during senescence. The results indicate that the stable transduction of a small number of hepatocytes with the Mut gene can be efficacious in the phenotypic correction of an inborn error of organic acid metabolism and support the rapid translation of liver-directed gene therapy vectors already optimized for human subjects to patients with methylmalonic acidemia.

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