Short-term rescue of neonatal lethality in a mouse model of propionic acidemia by gene therapy

Sean E. Hofherr, Julien S. Senac, Christopher Y. Chen, Donna J. Palmer, Philip Ng, Michael A. Barry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Propionic acidemia (PA) is a metabolic disorder that causes mental retardation and that can be fatal if untreated. PA is inherited in an autosomal recessive fashion involving mutations in PCCA or PCCB encoding the α and β subunits of propionyl-CoA carboxylase (PCC). Current treatment is based on dietary restriction of substrate amino acids, which attenuates symptoms. However, patients still experience episodes of hyperammonemia that can cause progressive neurologic damage. In this paper, we have tested gene therapy approaches to PA in a stringent mouse model of PCCA deficiency, in which homozygous knockout mice are born but die within 36 hr. In this work, we have delivered first-generation and helper-dependent adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) vectors expressing the human PCCA cDNA by intraperitoneal injection into newborn mice. Unmodified Ad5 vectors mediated extensive transduction of the peritoneum with weak liver transduction as determined by luciferase imaging and dsRed expression. In contrast, modification of Ad5 with polyethylene glycol detargeted the virus from the peritoneum and retargeted it for transduction in the liver. When vectors expressing PCCA were injected, significant increases in life span were observed for both the unmodified and polyethylene glycol (PEG)-modified Ad5 vectors. However, this rescue was transient. Similarly, adeno-associated virus serotype 8-mediated transduction also produced only transient rescue. These data show first proof of principle for gene therapy of PA and demonstrate the potential utility of PEG to modify viral tropism in an actual gene therapy application.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-180
Number of pages12
JournalHuman gene therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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