Delayed delivery of AAV-GDNF prevents nigral neurodegeneration and promotes functional recovery in a rat model of Parkinson's disease.Gene Ther. 2002 Mar; 9(6):381-9.GT
Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is a strong candidate agent in the neuroprotective treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD). We investigated whether adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector-mediated delivery of a GDNF gene in a delayed manner could prevent progressive degeneration of dopaminergic (DA) neurons, while preserving a functional nigrostriatal pathway. Four weeks after a unilateral intrastriatal injection of 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA), rats received injection of AAV vectors expressing GDNF tagged with FLAG peptide (AAV-GDNFflag) or beta-galactosidase (AAV-LacZ) into the lesioned striatum. Immunostaining for FLAG demonstrated retrograde transport of GDNFflag to the substantia nigra (SN). The density of tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive DA fibers in the striatum and the number of TH-positive or cholera toxin subunit B (CTB, neuronal tracer)-labeled neurons in the SN were significantly greater in the AAV-GDNFflag group than in the AAV-LacZ group. Dopamine levels and those of its metabolites in the striatum were remarkably higher in the AAV-GDNFflag group compared with the control group. Consistent with anatomical and biochemical changes, significant behavioral recovery was observed from 4-20 weeks following AAV-GDNFflag injection. These data indicate that a delayed delivery of GDNF gene using AAV vector is efficacious even 4 weeks after the onset of progressive degeneration in a rat model of PD.