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Mol Ther. 2010 Aug;18(8):1501-8. doi: 10.1038/mt.2010.94. Epub 2010 Jun 1.

Widespread muscle expression of an AAV9 human mini-dystrophin vector after intravenous injection in neonatal dystrophin-deficient dogs.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Duchenne (DMD) and golden retriever (GRMD) muscular dystrophy are caused by genetic mutations in the dystrophin gene and afflict striated muscles. We investigated systemic gene delivery in 4-day-old GRMD dogs given a single intravenous injection of an AAV9 vector (1.5 x 10(14) vector genomes/kg) carrying a human codon-optimized human mini-dystrophin gene under control of the cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter. One of the three treated dogs was euthanized 9 days later due to pre-existing conditions. Scattered mini-dystrophin-positive myofibers were seen by immunofluorescent (IF) staining in numerous muscles. At the end of the 16-week study, the other two dogs showed generalized muscle expression of mini-dystrophin in ~15% to nearly 100% of myofibers. Western blot and vector DNA quantitative PCR results agreed with the IF data. Delayed growth and pelvic limb muscle atrophy and contractures were seen several weeks after vector delivery. T-2 weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 8 weeks showed increased signal intensity compatible with inflammation in several pelvic limb muscles. This marked early inflammatory response raised concerns regarding methodology. Use of the ubiquitous CMV promoter, extra-high vector dose, and marked expression of a human protein in canine muscles may have contributed to the pathologic changes seen in the pelvic limbs.

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