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Hum Gene Ther. 2014 Sep;25(9):837-43. doi: 10.1089/hum.2014.012. Epub 2014 Aug 21.

Effects of adeno-associated virus serotype and tissue-specific expression on circulating biomarkers of propionic acidemia.

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1 Virology and Gene Therapy Graduate Program, Mayo Clinic , Rochester, MN 55905.


Propionic acidemia (PA) is an autosomal recessive inborn error of metabolism caused by deficiency of propionyl-CoA carboxylase (PCC). This enzyme is composed of six PCCA and six PCCB subunits and mediates a critical step in catabolism of odd chain fatty acids and certain amino acids. Current treatment options for PA are limited to stringent dietary restriction of protein consumption and some patients undergo elective liver transplantation. We previously generated a hypomorphic model of PA, designated Pcca(-/-)(A138T), with 2% of wild-type enzyme activity that mimics many aspects of the human disease. In this study, we used the differing tissue tropisms of adeno-associated virus (AAV) to probe the ability of liver or muscle-directed gene therapy to treat systemic aspects of this disease that affects many cell types. Systemic therapy with muscle-biased AAV1, liver-biased AAV8, and broadly tropic AAVrh10 mediated significant biochemical corrections in circulating propionylcarnitine (C3) and methyl citrate by all vectors. The innate tissue bias of AAV1 and AAV8 gene expression was made more specific by the use of muscle-specific muscle creatine kinase (specifically MCK6) and hepatocyte-specific transthyretin (TTR) promoters, respectively. Under these targeted conditions, both vectors mediated significant long-term correction of circulating metabolites, demonstrating that correction of muscle and likely other tissue types in addition to liver is necessary to fully correct pathology caused by PA. Liver-specific AAV8-TTR-PCCA mediated better correction than AAV1-MCK-PCCA. These data suggest that targeted gene therapy may be a viable alternative to liver transplantation for PA. They also demonstrate the effects of tissue-specific and broad gene therapy on a cell autonomous systemic genetic disease.

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