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Papers of the Week

Papers: 11 Dec 2021 - 17 Dec 2021

2021 Dec 08

Exp Neurol

Peripherally delivered Adeno-associated viral vectors for spinal cord injury repair.


Sydney-Smith JD, Spejo AB, Warren PM, Moon LDF
Exp Neurol. 2021 Dec 08:113945.
PMID: 34896114.


Via the peripheral and autonomic nervous systems, the spinal cord directly or indirectly connects reciprocally with many body systems (muscular, intengumentary, respiratory, immune, digestive, excretory, reproductive, cardiovascular, etc). Accordingly, spinal cord injury (SCI) can result in catastrophe for multiple body systems including muscle paralysis affecting movement and loss of normal sensation, as well as neuropathic pain, spasticity, reduced fertility and autonomic dysreflexia. Treatments and cure for an injured spinal cord will likely require access of therapeutic agents across the blood-CNS (central nervous system) barrier. However, some types of repair within the CNS may be possible by targeting treatment to peripherally located cells or by delivering Adeno-Associated Viral vectors (AAVs) by peripheral routes (e.g., intrathecal, intravenous). This review will consider some future possibilities for SCI repair generated by therapeutic peripheral gene delivery. There are now six gene therapies approved worldwide as safe and effective medicines of which three were created by modification of the apparently nonpathogenic Adeno-Associated Virus. One of these AAVs, Zolgensma, is injected intrathecally for treatment of spinal muscular atrophy in children. One day, delivery of AAVs into peripheral tissues might improve recovery after spinal cord injury in humans; we discuss experiments by us and others delivering transgenes into nerves or muscles for sensorimotor recovery in animal models of SCI or of stroke including human Neurotrophin-3. We also describe ongoing efforts to develop AAVs that are delivered to particular targets within and without the CNS after peripheral administration using capsids with improved tropisms, promoters that are selective for particular cell types, and methods for controlling the dose and duration of expression of a transgene. In conclusion, in the future, minimally invasive administration of AAVs may improve recovery after SCI with minimal side effects.