Antibody formation and mannose-6-phosphate receptor expression impact the efficacy of muscle-specific transgene expression in murine Pompe disease.

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BACKGROUND: Lysosomal storage disorders such as Pompe disease can be more effectively treated, if immune tolerance to enzyme or gene replacement therapy can be achieved. Alternatively, immune responses against acid α-glucosidase (GAA) might be evaded in Pompe disease through muscle-specific expression of GAA with adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors. METHODS: An AAV vector containing the MHCK7 regulatory cassette to drive muscle-specific GAA expression was administered to GAA knockout (KO) mice, immune tolerant GAA-KO mice and mannose-6-phosphate deficient GAA-KO mice. GAA activity and glycogen content were analyzed in striated muscle to determine biochemical efficacy. RESULTS: The biochemical efficacy from GAA expression was slightly reduced in GAA-KO mice, as demonstrated by higher residual glycogen content in skeletal muscles. Next, immune tolerance to GAA was induced in GAA-KO mice by co-administration of a second AAV vector encoding liver-specific GAA along with the AAV vector encoding muscle-specific GAA. Antibody formation was prevented by liver-specific GAA, and the biochemical efficacy of GAA expression was improved in the absence of antibodies, as demonstrated by significantly reduced glycogen content in the diaphragm. Efficacy was reduced in old GAA-KO mice despite the absence of antibodies. The greatest impact upon gene therapy was observed in GAA-KO mice lacking the mannose-6-phosphate receptor in muscle. The clearance of stored glycogen was markedly impaired despite high GAA expression in receptor-deficient Pompe disease mice. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, antibody formation had a subtle effect upon efficacy, whereas the absence of mannose-6-phosphate receptors markedly impaired muscle-targeted gene therapy in murine Pompe disease.





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Sun, Baodong, Songtao Li, Andrew Bird, Haiqing Yi, Alex Kemper, Beth L Thurberg and Dwight D Koeberl (2010). Antibody formation and mannose-6-phosphate receptor expression impact the efficacy of muscle-specific transgene expression in murine Pompe disease. J Gene Med, 12(11). pp. 881–891. 10.1002/jgm.1511 Retrieved from

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Baodong Sun

Associate Professor in Pediatrics

My overall research interests are finding effective treatment for human glycogen storage diseases (GSDs) and other inherited metabolic disorders. My current research focuses on identification of novel therapeutic targets and development of effective therapies for GSD II (Pompe disease), GSD III (Cori disease), and GSD IV (Andersen disease) using cellular and animal disease models. The main therapeutic approaches we are using in our pre-clinical studies include protein/enzyme therapy, AAV-mediated gene therapy, and substrate reduction therapy with small molecule drugs.


Dwight D. Koeberl

Professor of Pediatrics

As a physician-scientist practicing clinical and biochemical genetics, I am highly motivated to seek improved therapy for my patients with inherited disorders of metabolism. The focus of our research has been the development of gene therapy with adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors, most recently by genome editing with CRISPR/Cas9. We have developed gene therapy for inherited disorders of metabolism, especially glycogen storage disease (GSD) and phenylketonuria (PKU). 
1) GSD Ia: Glucose-6-phosphatase (G6Pase) deficient animals provide models for developing new therapy for GSD Ia, although early mortality complicates research with both the murine and canine models of GSD Ia. We have prolonged the survival and reversed the biochemical abnormalities in G6Pase-knockout mice and dogs with GSD type Ia, following the administration of AAV8-pseudotyped AAV vectors encoding human G6Pase. More recently, we have performed genome editing to integrate a therapeutic transgene in a safe harbor locus for mice with GSD Ia, permanently correcting G6Pase deficiency in the GSD Ia liver. Finally, we have identified reduced autophagy as an underlying hepatocellular defect that might be treated with pro-autophagic drugs in GSD Ia.
2) GSD II/Pompe disease: Pompe disease is caused by the deficiency of acid-alpha-glucosidase (GAA) in muscle, resulting in the massive accumulation of lysosomal glycogen in striated muscle with accompanying weakness. While enzyme replacement has shown promise in infantile-onset Pompe disease patients, no curative therapy is available. We demonstrated that AAV vector-mediated gene therapy will likely overcome limitations of enzyme replacement therapy, including formation of anti-GAA antibodies and the need for frequent infusions. We demonstrated that liver-restricted expression with an AAV vector prevented antibody responses in GAA-knockout mice by inducing immune tolerance to human GAA. Antibody responses have complicated enzyme replacement therapy for Pompe disease and emphasized a potential advantage of gene therapy for this disorder. The strategy of administering low-dose gene therapy prior to initiation of enzyme replacement therapy, termed immunomodulatory gene therapy, prevented antibody formation and increased efficacy in Pompe disease mice. We are currently conducting a Phase I clinical trial of immunomodulatory gene therapy in adult patients with Pompe disease. Furthermore, we have developed drug therapy to increase the receptor-mediated uptake of GAA in muscle cells, which provides adjunctive therapy to more definitively treat Pompe disease.
3) PKU: In collaboration with researchers at OHSU, we performed an early gene therapy experiment that demonstrated long-term biochemical correction of PKU in mice with an AAV8 vector. PKU is a very significant disorder detected by newborn screening and currently inadequately treated by dietary therapy. Phenylalanine levels in mice were corrected in the blood, and elevated phenylalanine causes mental retardation and birth defects in children born to affected women, and gene therapy for PKU would address an unmet need for therapy in this disorder.

Currently we are developing methods for genome editing that will stably correct the enzyme  deficiency in GSD Ia and in Pompe disease.  Our long-term goal is to develop efficacious genome editing for glycogen storage diseases, which will allow us to treat these conditions early in life with long-term benefits. 

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