Safety of direct administration of AAV2CUhCLN2, a candidate treatment for the central nervous system manifestations of late infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, to the brain of rats and nonhuman primates

Neil R. Hackett, D. Eugene Redmond, Dolan Sondhi, E. Lela Giannaris, Elizabeth Vassallo, Jamie Stratton, Jianping Qiu, Stephen M. Kaminsky, Martin L. Lesser, Gene S. Fisch, Serge D. Rouselle, Ronald G. Crystal

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Late infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (LINCL), a pediatric autosonial recessive neurodegenerative lysosomal storage disorder, results from mutations in the CLN2 gene and consequent deficiency in tripeptidyl-peptidase I (TPP-I) and progressive destruction of neurons. We have previously demonstrated that CNS gene transfer of AAV2CUhCLN2 (an AAV2-based vector expressing the human CLN2 cDNA) in rats and nonhuman primates mediates long-term TPP-I expression in the CNS neurons [Sondhi, D., Peterson, D.A., Giannaris, E.L., Sanders, C.T., Mendez, B.S., De, B., Rostkowski, A., Blancard, B., Bjugstad, K., Sladek, J.R., Redmond, D.E., Leopold, P.L., Kaminsky, S.M., Hackett, N.R., and Crystal, R.G. (2005). Gene Ther. 12, 1618-1632]. The present study tests the hypothesis that direct CNS administration of a clinical-grade AAV2CUhCLN2 vector to the CNS of rats and nonhuman primates at doses scalable to humans has a long-term safety profile acceptable for initiating clinical trials. Fischer 344 rats were injected bilaterally via the striatum with 2 × 1010 particle units (PU) of AAV2CUhCLN2, using saline as a control. At 13, 26, and 52 weeks, vector and phosphate-buffered saline-injected rats were killed (n = 6 per time point), and blood, brain, and distant organs were assessed. There were no biologically significant differences between control and vector groups for complete blood count, serum chemistry, and neutralizing anti-AAV2 antibody levels. CNS administration of AAV2CUhCLN2 did not result in any pathological changes in the brain that were attributable to the vector, although microscopic changes were observed along the track consistent with needle trauma. A total dose of 3.6 × 1010 or 3.6 × 1011 PU of AAV2CUhCLN2 was administered to the CNS of African Green monkeys at 12 locations, targeting the caudate nucleus, hippocampus, and overlying cortices. Monkeys (n = 3 at each dose) were killed 1,13, 26, or 52 weeks after injection. Controls included sham-injected, saline-injected, and AAV2 CUNull-injected (3.6 × 1011 PU) monkeys. There were no biologically significant differences among vector-injected and control groups in any parameter of the general assessment, complete blood count, or serum chemistry assessed at multiple time points after vector administration. Importantly, no abnormal behavior was observed in any group in videotaped neurological assessment, where behaviors were quantified before administration and at multiple time points afterward. Histopathological examination of the CNS demonstrated that 1 week after administration, AAV2CUhCLN2 produced transient minor white matter edema with reactive glial cells in the corona radiata of the cerebrum along the injection track and in the surrounding white matter. This abnormality was not observed at 13, 26, or 52 weeks. Together with the long-term gene expression after gene transfer, these findings supported the initiation of clinical trials to assess the safety of AAV2CUhCLN2 administration to individuals with LINCL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1484-1503
Number of pages20
JournalHuman gene therapy
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics

Cite this

Hackett, N. R., Redmond, D. E., Sondhi, D., Giannaris, E. L., Vassallo, E., Stratton, J., Qiu, J., Kaminsky, S. M., Lesser, M. L., Fisch, G. S., Rouselle, S. D., & Crystal, R. G. (2005). Safety of direct administration of AAV2CUhCLN2, a candidate treatment for the central nervous system manifestations of late infantile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis, to the brain of rats and nonhuman primates. Human gene therapy, 16(12), 1484-1503.