Recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors are promising gene therapy tools. However, pre-existing antibodies (Abs) to many useful AAV serotypes pose a critical challenge for the translation of gene therapies. As part of AAV gene therapy program for treating mucopolysaccharidosis (MPS) III patients, the seroprevalence profiles of AAV1-9 and rh74 were investigated in MPS IIIA/IIIB patients and in healthy children. Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for αAAV-IgG, significantly higher seroprevalence was observed for AAV1 and AAVrh74 in 2- to 7-year-old MPS III patients than in healthy controls. Seroprevalence for the majority of tested AAV serotypes appears to peak before 8 years of age in MPS III subjects, with the exception of increases in αAAV8 and αAAV9 Abs in 8- to 19-year-old MPS IIIA patients. In contrast, significant increases in seroprevalence were observed for virtually all tested AAV serotypes in 8- to 15-year-old healthy children compared to 2- to 7-year-olds. Co-prevalence and Ab level correlation results followed the previously established divergence-based clade positions of AAV1-9. Interestingly, the individuals positive for αAAVrh74-Abs showed the lowest co-prevalence with Abs for AAV1-9 (22-40%). However, all or nearly all (77-100%) of subjects who were seropositive for any of serotypes 1-9 were also positive for αAAVrh74-IgG. Notably, the majority (78%) of αAAV seropositive individuals were also Ab-positive for one to five of the tested AAV serotypes, mostly with low levels of αAAV-Abs (1:50-100), while a minority (22%) were seropositive for six or more AAV serotypes, mostly with high levels of αAAV-IgG for multiple serotypes. In general, the highest IgG levels were reactive to AAV2, AAV3, and AAVrh74. The data illustrate the complex seroprevalence profiles of AAV1-9 and rh74 in MPS patients and healthy children, indicating the potential association of AAV seroprevalence with age and disease conditions. The broad co-prevalence of Abs for different AAV serotypes reinforces the challenge of pre-existing αAAV-Abs for translating AAV gene therapy to clinical applications, regardless of the vector serotype.
Keywords: AAV; MPS III; pre-existing Abs; seroprevalance.