Gene therapy for lysosomal storage diseases: the lessons and promise of animal models

J Gene Med. 2004 May;6(5):481-506. doi: 10.1002/jgm.581.


There are more than 40 different forms of inherited lysosomal storage diseases (LSDs) known to occur in humans and the aggregate incidence has been estimated to approach 1 in 7000 live births. Most LSDs are associated with high morbidity and mortality and represent a significant burden on patients, their families, and health care providers. Except for symptomatic therapies, many LSDs remain untreatable, and gene therapy is among the only viable treatment options potentially available. Therapies for some LSDs do exist, or are under evaluation, including heterologous bone marrow transplantation (BMT), enzyme replacement therapy (ERT), and substrate reduction therapy (SRT), but these treatment options are associated with significant concerns, including high morbidity and mortality (BMT), limited positive outcomes (BMT), incomplete response to therapy (BMT, ERT, and SRT), life-long therapy (ERT, SRT), and cost (BMT, ERT, SRT). Gene therapy represents a potential alternative therapy, albeit a therapy with its own attendant concerns. Animal models of LSDs play a critical role in evaluating the efficacy and safety of therapy for many of these conditions. Naturally occurring animal homologs of LSDs have been described in the mouse, rat, dog, cat, guinea pig, emu, quail, goat, cattle, sheep, and pig. In this review we discuss those animal models that have been used in gene therapy experiments and those with promise for future evaluations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Genetic Therapy*
  • Glycogen Storage Disease Type II / genetics
  • Glycogen Storage Disease Type II / therapy
  • Humans
  • Lysosomal Storage Diseases / genetics
  • Lysosomal Storage Diseases / therapy*
  • Lysosomal Storage Diseases, Nervous System / genetics
  • Lysosomal Storage Diseases, Nervous System / therapy
  • Mucopolysaccharidoses / genetics
  • Mucopolysaccharidoses / therapy