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Gastroenterology. 2010 Sep;139(3):999-1007, 1007.e1-2. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2010.05.008. Epub 2010 Jun 19.

Lentiviral vectors that express UGT1A1 in liver and contain miR-142 target sequences normalize hyperbilirubinemia in Gunn rats.

Author information

1
INSERM Unité 948, CHU Hôtel Dieu, Nantes, France.

Abstract

BACKGROUND & AIMS:

Crigler-Najjar type 1 (CN-I) is an inherited liver disease caused by an absence of bilirubin-uridine 5'-diphosphate-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT1A1) activity. It results in life-threatening levels of unconjugated bilirubin, and therapeutic options are limited. We used adult Gunn rats (an animal model of the disease) to evaluate the efficiency of lentiviral-based gene therapy to express UGT1A1 in liver.

METHODS:

Gunn rats were given intraportal injections of VSVG-pseudotyped lentiviral vectors that encode UGT1A1 under the control of a liver-specific transthyretin promoter (mTTR.hUGT1A1); this vector does not contain target sequences for miR-142, a microRNA that is expressed specifically in hematopoietic cells. Rats were also injected with the vector mTTR.hUGT1A1.142T, which contains 4 copies of the miR-142 target sequences; its messenger RNA should be degraded in antigen-presenting cells. Bilirubinemia was monitored, and the presence of transduced hepatocytes was analyzed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Vector expression was tested in vitro in rat hematopoietic cells.

RESULTS:

In Gunn rats, bilirubin levels normalized 2 weeks after administration of mTTR.hUGT1A1. However, hyperbilirubinemia resumed 8 weeks after vector administration, concomitant with the induction of an immune response. In contrast, in rats injected with mTTR-UGT1A1.142T, bilirubin levels normalized for up to 6 months and transduced cells were not eliminated.

CONCLUSIONS:

Lentiviral vectors that express UGT1A1 reduce hyperbilirubinemia in immunocompetent Gunn rats for at least 6 months. The immune response against virally expressed UGT1A1 can be circumvented by inclusion of miR-142 target sequences, which reduce vector expression in antigen-presenting cells. This lentiviral-based gene therapy approach might be developed to treat patients with CN-I.

PMID:
20546738
DOI:
10.1053/j.gastro.2010.05.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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