BioImpacts. 2021;11(2): 135-146.
doi: 10.34172/bi.2021.21
PMID: 33842284
PMCID: PMC8022232
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Original Research

Can early treatment of twitcher mice with high dose AAVrh10-GALC eliminate the need for BMT?

Mohammad A Rafi 1* ORCID logo, Paola Luzi 1, David A Wenger 1 ORCID logo

1 Department of Neurology, Sidney Kimmel College of Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA
Corresponding author: Mohammad A Rafi, Email: mohammad.rafi@jefferson.edu mbrafi610@gmail.com


Introduction: Krabbe disease (KD) is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the galactocerebrosidase (GALC) gene resulting in neuro-inflammation and defective myelination in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Most infantile patients present with clinical features before six months of age and die before two years of age. The only treatment available for pre-symptomatic or mildly affected individuals is hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). In the animal models, combining bone marrow transplantation (BMT) with gene therapy has shown the best results in disease outcome. In this study, we examine the outcome of gene therapy alone.
Methods: Twitcher (twi) mice used in the study, have a W339X mutation in the GALC gene. Genotype identification of the mice was performed shortly after birth or post-natal day 1 (PND1), using polymerase chain reaction on the toe clips followed by restriction enzyme digestion and electrophoresis. Eight or nine-day-old affected mice were used for gene therapy treatment alone or combined with BMT. While iv injection of 4 × 1013 gc/kg of body weight of viral vector was used originally, different viral titers were also used without BMT to evaluate their outcomes.
Results: When the standard viral dose was increased four- and ten-fold (4X and 10X) without BMT, the lifespans were increased significantly. Without BMT the affected mice were fertile, had the same weight and appearance as wild type mice and had normal strength and gait. The brains showed no staining for CD68, a marker for activated microglia/macrophages, and less astrogliosis than untreated twi mice.
Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that, it may be possible to treat human KD patients with high dose AAVrh10 without blood stem cell transplantation which would eliminate the side effects of HSCT.
Keywords: Krabbe disease, AAVrh10, Gene therapy, Twitcher mice, Bone marrow transplantation, Combined therapy, Myelination
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Submitted: 19 Nov 2020
Revision: 14 Jan 2021
Accepted: 20 Jan 2021
ePublished: 26 Feb 2021
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