Controlled striatal DOPA production from a gene delivery system in a rodent model of Parkinson's disease.

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Conventional symptomatic treatment for Parkinson's disease (PD) with long term L-DOPA is complicated with development of drug-induced side effects. In vivo viral vector-mediated gene expression encoding tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and GTP cyclohydrolase 1 (GCH1) provides a drug delivery strategy of DOPA with distinct advantages over pharmacotherapy. Since the brain alterations made with current gene transfer techniques are irreversible, the therapeutic approaches taken to the clinic should preferably be controllable to match the needs of each individual during the course of their disease. We used a recently described tunable gene expression system based on the use of destabilized dihydrofolate reductase (DD) and generated a N-terminally coupled GCH1 enzyme (DD-GCH1) while the TH enzyme was constitutively expressed, packaged in adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors. Expression of DD-GCH1 was regulated by the activating ligand trimethoprim (TMP) that crosses the blood-brain barrier. We show that the resulting intervention provides a TMP-dose dependent regulation of DOPA synthesis that is closely linked to the magnitude of functional effects. Our data constitutes the first proof of principle for controlled reconstitution of dopamine capacity in the brain and suggests that such next generation gene therapy strategies are now mature for pre-clinical development towards use in patients with PD.Molecular Therapy (2015); doi:10.1038/mt.2015.8.


Research areas and keywords

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  • Medical Genetics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)896-906
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch

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