Delivering the parathyroid hormone (PTH) gene has been attempted preclinically in a handful of studies, but delivering full-length PTH (1-84) using adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors has not. Given the difficulty in achieving therapeutic levels of secreted proteins using gene therapy, this study seeks to determine the feasibility of doing so with PTH. An AAV vector was used to deliver human PTH driven by a strong promoter. We demonstrate the ability to secrete full-length PTH from various cell types in vitro. PTH secretion from hepatocytes was measured over time and a fluorescent marker was used to compare the secretion rate of PTH in various cell types. Potency was measured by the ability of PTH to act on the PTH receptors of osteosarcoma cells and induced proliferation. PTH showed potency in vitro by inducing proliferation in two osteosarcoma cell lines. In vivo, AAV was administered systemically in immunocompromised mice which received xenografts of osteosarcoma cells. Animals that received the highest dose of AAV-PTH had higher liver and plasma concentrations of PTH. All dosing groups achieved measurable plasma concentrations of human PTH that were above the normal range. The high-dose group also had significantly larger tumors compared to control groups on the final day of the study. The tumors also showed dose-dependent differences in morphology. When looking at endocrine signaling and endogenous bone turnover, we observed a significant difference in tibial growth plate width in animals that received the high-dose AAV as well as dose-dependent changes in blood biomarkers related to PTH. This proof-of-concept study shows promise for further exploration of an AAV gene therapy to deliver full-length PTH for hypoparathyroidism. Additional investigation will determine efficacy in a disease model, but data shown establish bioactivity in well-established models of osteosarcoma.
Keywords: AAV vector; AAV-PTH; Hypoparathyroidism; parathyroid hormone.