Mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) IIIB is characterized by mild somatic features and severe neurological diseases leading to premature death. No definite treatment is available for MPS IIIB patients. We constructed two recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors containing the human alpha-N-acetylglucosaminidase (NaGlu) cDNA driven by either a CMV or a neuron-specific enolase (NSE) promoter. In vitro, these rAAV vectors mediated efficient expression of recombinant NaGlu in human MPS IIIB fibroblasts and mouse MPS IIIB somatic and brain primary cell cultures. The secreted rNaGlu was taken up by both human and mouse MPS IIIB cells in culture and degraded the accumulated glycosaminoglycans (GAG). A direct microinjection (10(7) viral particles, 1 microl/10 minutes per injection) of vectors containing the NSE promoter resulted in long-term (6 months, the duration of the experiments) expression of rNaGlu in multiple brain structures/areas of adult MPS IIIB mice. Consistent with previous studies, the main target cells were neurons. However, while vector typically transduced an area of 400-500 microm surrounding the infusion sites, the correction of GAG storage involved neurons of a much broader area (1.5 mm) in a 6-month duration of experiments. These results provide a basis for the development of a treatment for neurological disease in MPS IIIB patients using AAV vectors.