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Gene Ther. 2013 Apr;20(4):417-24. doi: 10.1038/gt.2012.55. Epub 2012 Jul 12.

Prevalence and pharmacological modulation of humoral immunity to AAV vectors in gene transfer to synovial tissue.

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Center of Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Antibodies against adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors are highly prevalent in humans. Both preclinical and clinical studies showed that antibodies against AAV block transduction even at low titers, particularly when the vector is introduced into the bloodstream. Here we measured the neutralizing antibody (NAb) titer against AAV serotypes 2, 5, 6 and 8 in the serum and matched synovial fluid (SF) from rheumatoid arthritis patients. The titer in the SF was lower than that in the matched plasma samples, indicating a difference in distribution of NAb to AAV depending on the body fluid compartment. This difference was more evident for AAV2, against which higher titers were measured. Of all serotypes, anti-AAV5 antibodies were the least prevalent in both the serum and SF. We next evaluated the impact of B-cell depletion on anti-AAV antibodies in rheumatoid arthritis patients who received one or two courses of the anti-CD20 antibody rituximab as part of their disease management. A drop of NAb titer was observed in a subset of those subjects carrying NAb titers ≤1:1000; however, only in a minority of subjects titers dropped below 1:5. This work provides insights into strategies to overcome the limitation of pre-existing humoral immunity to AAV vectors.

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