Eight years of clinical improvement in MPTP-lesioned primates after gene therapy with AAV2-hAADC

Mol Ther. 2010 Aug;18(8):1458-61. doi: 10.1038/mt.2010.106. Epub 2010 Jun 8.


This study completes the longest known in vivo monitoring of adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated gene expression in nonhuman primate (NHP) brain. Although six of the eight parkinsonian NHP originally on study have undergone postmortem analysis, as described previously, we monitored the remaining two animals for a total of 8 years. In this study, NHP received AAV2-human L-amino acid decarboxylase (hAADC) infusions into the MPTP (1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine)-lesioned putamen. Restoration of AADC activity restored normal response to levodopa and gene expression could be quantitated repeatedly over many years by 6-[(18)F]fluoro-meta-tyrosine (FMT)-positron emission tomography (PET) and confirm that AADC transgene expression remained unchanged at the 8-year point. Behavioral assessments confirmed continued, normalized response to levodopa (improvement by 35% over historical controls). Postmortem analysis showed that, although only 5.6 + or - 1% and 6.6 + or - 1% of neurons within the transduced volumes of the striatum were transduced, this still secured robust clinical improvement. Importantly, there were no signs of neuroinflammation or reactive gliosis at the 8-year point, indicative of the safety of this treatment. The present data suggest that the improvement in the L-3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (L-Dopa) therapeutic window brought about by AADC gene therapy is pronounced and persistent for many years.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aromatic-L-Amino-Acid Decarboxylases / genetics
  • Aromatic-L-Amino-Acid Decarboxylases / metabolism*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Corpus Striatum / metabolism
  • Dependovirus / genetics*
  • Dopamine / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Levodopa / metabolism
  • Macaca mulatta / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence


  • Levodopa
  • Aromatic-L-Amino-Acid Decarboxylases
  • Dopamine