Lysosomal storage diseases, such as Mucopolysaccharidosis type VII (MPS VII), cause progressive loss of mobility and intellect and result in early death. Treatment of progressive diseases must occur before the blood-brain barrier closes. In MPS VII mice, normal donor hematopoietic cells secrete the missing enzyme beta-glucuronidase (GUSB) that reverses disease manifestations. Correction of lysosomal storage is limited to the visceral organs unless transplantation is preceded by high-dose irradiation. We hypothesize that irradiation opens the blood-brain barrier allowing passage of corrective cells. Here we transplanted genetically myeloablated MPS VII fetuses to determine whether earlier treatment without toxic irradiation is systemically corrective. Cells with a selective advantage in utero were identified. Donor fetal liver cells (FLC), a substitute for difficult to obtain murine cord blood cells, were increased 10-fold in the host peripheral blood over equivalent numbers of adult marrow cells injected simultaneously and were stable long term in both primary and secondary hosts. GUSB- MPS VII fetuses injected with GUSB+ FLC were assessed longitudinally after birth. Donor FLC replaced host stem cell descendants, prolonged life dramatically, and reduced bone dysplasia and lysosomal storage in all tissues long term. GUSB, donor leptomeningeal cells, and microglia were present in the brain at 11 months postinjection. Lysosomal storage in cortical neurons and glia, although not completely corrected, was reduced. We conclude that in utero intervention without toxic pretreatment in this model reduces the storage disease long term and improves the length and quality of life despite exerting only minor effects on the brain.
(c)2001 Elsevier Science.