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Mol Ther. 2010 Dec;18(12):2075-84. doi: 10.1038/mt.2010.206. Epub 2010 Sep 21.

AAV4-mediated expression of IGF-1 and VEGF within cellular components of the ventricular system improves survival outcome in familial ALS mice.

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Genzyme Corporation, Framingham, Massachusetts 01701-9322, USA.


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease characterized by motor neuron cell death in the cortex, brainstem, and spinal cord. Extensive efforts have been made to develop trophic factor-based therapies to enhance motor neuron survival; however, achievement of adequate therapeutic delivery to all regions of the corticospinal tract has remained a significant challenge. Here, we show that adeno-associated virus serotype 4 (AAV4)-mediated expression of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) or vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-165 in the cellular components of the ventricular system including the ependymal cell layer, choroid plexus [the primary cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)-producing cells of the central nervous system (CNS)] and spinal cord central canal leads to trophic factor delivery throughout the CNS, delayed motor decline and a significant extension of survival in SOD1(G93A) transgenic mice. Interestingly, when IGF-1- and VEGF-165-expressing AAV4 vectors were given in combination, no additional benefit in efficacy was observed suggesting that these trophic factors are acting on similar signaling pathways to modestly slow disease progression. Consistent with these findings, experiments conducted in a recently described in vitro cell culture model of ALS led to a similar result, with both IGF-1 and VEGF-165 providing significant motor neuron protection but in a nonadditive fashion. These findings support the continued investigation of trophic factor-based therapies that target the CNS as a potential treatment of ALS.

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