Previously, in murine models of acid maltase deficiency (AMD), we demonstrated that intravenous administration of an improved adenovirus (Ad) vector encoding human acid alpha glucosidase (hGAA) resulted in liver transduction, followed by high-level hepatocyte-mediated secretion of hGAA into the plasma space. The hGAA secreted by the liver was taken up and targeted to muscle cell lysosomes. The levels of hGAA achieved by this approach resulted in clearance of lysosomal glycogen accumulations; in some muscle tissues the effect was prolonged (>6 months). We next wished to demonstrate whether this approach could be generalized across divergent species. To accomplish this goal, we determined whether a similar approach would also result in efficacy, but in a quail model of AMD.
An [E1-, E2b-]Ad vector encoding hGAA was intravenously injected into AMD quails. At several time points thereafter, plasma, liver, and multiple muscle tissues were assayed for evidence of hGAA gene expression, liver-mediated hGAA secretion, uptake of hGAA by skeletal muscles, and evidence of glycogen correction in AMD skeletal muscles. These results were compared with those obtained from mock-injected AMD or wild-type quails.
Intravenous [E1-, E2b-]Ad/hGAA vector injection resulted in high-level liver transduction and hepatic secretion of precursor forms of hGAA. The hepatically secreted hGAA was found to not only be efficiently taken up by cardiac and skeletal muscles, but was also proteolytically cleaved and processed equivalently to the quail-GAA protein detected in wild-type quails. The observations suggest that the signals regulating muscle cell uptake (but not proteolytic cleavage) of lysosomal enzymes are conserved and recognized across divergent species of vertebrates. Importantly, once localized to skeletal muscle lysosomes, the hGAA was able to effectively clear the glycogen accumulations present in AMD quail muscles.
Adenovirus-mediated transduction of the hGAA gene, followed by hepatic secretion, uptake, and cross-correction of the pathologic glycogen accumulation noted in multiple muscles of both the AMD mouse and AMD quail, adds support to the notion that gene transfer strategies (Ad-mediated or other agents) targeting liver tissues with the hGAA gene are likely to be highly efficacious in humans affected by AMD.