Glycogen storage disease type II (GSD-II; Pompe disease; MIM 232300) is an inherited muscular dystrophy caused by deficiency in the activity of the lysosomal enzyme acid alpha-glucosidase (GAA). We hypothesized that chimeric GAA containing an alternative signal peptide could increase the secretion of GAA from transduced cells and enhance the receptor-mediated uptake of GAA in striated muscle. The relative secretion of chimeric GAA from transfected 293 cells increased up to 26-fold. Receptor-mediated uptake of secreted, chimeric GAA corrected cultured GSD-II patient cells. High-level hGAA was sustained in the plasma of GSD-II mice for 24 weeks following administration of an AAV2/8 vector encoding chimeric GAA; furthermore, GAA activity was increased and glycogen content was significantly reduced in striated muscle and in the brain. Administration of only 1 x 10(10) vector particles increased GAA activity in the heart and diaphragm for >18 weeks, whereas 3 x 10(10) vector particles increased GAA activity and reduced glycogen content in the heart, diaphragm, and quadriceps. Furthermore, an AAV2/2 vector encoding chimeric GAA produced secreted hGAA for >12 weeks in the majority of treated GSD-II mice. Thus, chimeric, highly secreted GAA enhanced the efficacy of AAV vector-mediated gene therapy in GSD-II mice.