Aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC) deficiency is a rare, autosomal-recessive neurological disorder caused by mutations in the DDC gene that leads to an inability to synthesize catecholamines and serotonin. As a result, patients suffer compromised development, particularly in motor function. A recent gene replacement clinical trial explored putaminal delivery of recombinant adeno-associated virus serotype 2 vector encoding human AADC (AAV2-hAADC) in AADC-deficient children. Unfortunately, patients presented only modest amelioration of motor symptoms, which authors acknowledged could be due to insufficient transduction of putamen. We hypothesize that, with the development of a highly accurate MRI-guided cannula placement technology, a more effective approach might be to target the affected mid-brain neurons directly. Transduction of AADC-deficient dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area with locally infused AAV2-hAADC would be expected to lead to restoration of normal dopamine levels in affected children. The objective of this study was to assess the long-term safety and tolerability of bilateral AAV2-hAADC MRI-guided pressurized infusion into the mid-brain of non-human primates. Animals received either vehicle, low or high AAV2-hAADC vector dose and were euthanized 1, 3 or 9 months after surgery. Our data indicate that effective mid-brain transduction was achieved without untoward effects.
Keywords: AADC deficiency; AAV2-hAADC; MRI-guided; pressurized infusion.