Author(s): Kootstra NA, Matsumura R, Verma IM
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Abstract Lentiviral vectors (LV) have the ability to integrate their proviral DNA containing a therapeutic gene into the host cell's genome. Therefore, these vectors have a great potential for gene therapy especially in the treatment of hereditary diseases like hemophilia A, which require lifelong expression of the transgene. We constructed an HIV-1-based LV containing human B-domain-deleted factor VIII (FVIII) cDNA under the control of a promoter consisting of the chicken beta-actin promoter, CMV enhancers, and a large synthetic intron (CAG), which is a robust transcription promoter. High levels of FVIII expression from this vector could be demonstrated in vitro in 293T cells, primary liver cells, and hematopoietic progenitor cells. To test whether this viral vector was able to correct the bleeding disorder of C57BL/6 FVIII knockout mice, we transduced these mice with the FVIII LV either by intraperitoneal injection or by transplantation with transduced syngeneic bone marrow. FVIII production was analyzed in the blood plasma for a period of 3 months; however, only low levels of FVIII (<50 mU), which were below 5\% of normal FVIII levels of 1000 mU, could be detected. Further analysis revealed that the low levels of FVIII activity present in the blood plasma were due to the presence of neutralizing antibodies to FVIII and not due to lack of expression of FVIII from the viral vector. FVIII expression could be detected in the tissues of the transduced mice by Western blot analysis and in ex vivo cultures. These data demonstrate that LVs are able to produce therapeutic levels of FVIII in knockout mice when administered by ip infection or by transduced hematopoietic cells. The challenge is to overcome the immune barriers to the therapeutic gene product.
This article was published in Mol Ther
and referenced in Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy