Autologous transplantation of muscle precursor cells modified with a lentivirus for muscular dystrophy: human cells and primate models.Mol Ther. 2007 Feb; 15(2):431-8.MT
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is characterized by the absence of dystrophin. We tested the ability of lentiviral vectors to deliver a transgene into myogenic cells before their transplantation. Enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) transgene was efficiently transferred into cells and eGFP-positive fibers were generated following transplantation. An eGFP-micro-dystrophin transgene under the control of a cytomegalovirus promoter was then transferred with the same viral vector but caused some toxicity to the mono-nucleated cells. We then used instead a muscle creatine kinase promoter. Dystrophin expression was observed in the muscle fibers after the transplantation of such genetically modified cells into mdx and severe combined immunodeficient mice. Micro-dystrophin expression was also observed in monkey muscles a month after allogenic or autologous transplantation of genetically modified myoblasts. Therapeutic exon skipping was induced by infecting myoblasts of a DMD patient, deleted for dystrophin exons 49 and 50, with a lentivirus expressing a U7 small nuclear RNA containing antisense sequences against exon 51. The modification led to correct exon skipping and to the expression of a quasi-dystrophin in vitro and in vivo. These results demonstrate the feasibility of lentiviral-based ex vivo gene therapy for DMD.