For many metabolic diseases, early correction of the inherited deficiency is required to prevent long-term sequelae. We examined the ability of adeno-associated virus (AAV) to mediate efficient gene transfer during the neonatal period in mice with the lysosomal storage disease mucopolysaccharidosis type VII (MPS VII). Quadriceps of newborn MPS VII mice were injected with an AAV vector containing human beta-glucuronidase (GUSB) cDNA. High-level intramuscular GUSB expression was seen as early as 2 weeks of age, and persisted for at least 16 weeks with no reduction in activity. In addition, GUSB activity was detected in both liver and spleen at later time points. The level of GUSB activity resulted in a significant reduction in lysosomal storage in the liver and a minimal reduction in the spleen at 16 weeks. However, the temporal and spatial pattern of hepatic GUSB activity, coupled with the presence of GUSB cDNA in liver sections, suggests that hematogenous dissemination of virus at the time of injection led to gene transfer to hepatic cells. These results demonstrate that AAV vectors can successfully infect neonatal muscle and persist through the rapid growth phase following birth. However, GUSB secretion from an intramuscular source is inefficient, limiting the therapeutic efficacy of this approach.