Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is a neuromuscular disease mainly caused by mutations or deletions in the survival of motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene and characterized by the degeneration of motor neurons and progressive muscle weakness. A viable therapeutic approach for SMA patients is a gene replacement strategy that restores functional SMN expression using adeno-associated virus serotype 9 (AAV9) vectors. Currently, systemic or intra-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) delivery of AAV9-SMN is being explored in clinical trials. In this study, we show that the postnatal delivery of an AAV9 that expresses SMN under the control of the neuron-specific promoter synapsin selectively targets neurons without inducing re-expression in the peripheral organs of SMA mice. However, this approach is less efficient in restoring the survival and neuromuscular functions of SMA mice than the systemic or intra-CSF delivery of an AAV9 in which SMN is placed under the control of a ubiquitous promoter. This study suggests that further efforts are needed to understand the extent to which SMN is required in neurons and peripheral organs for a successful therapeutic effect.
Keywords: AAV; SMA; SMN; gene therapy; neurons; peripheral organs; spinal muscular atrophy; synapsin promoter; ubiquitous promoter.
Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.