Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neuron dysfunction occurs in a variety of sensory neuronopathies for which there are currently no satisfactory treatments. Here we describe the development of a strategy to target therapeutic genes to DRG neurons for the treatment of these disorders. We genetically modified an adenovirus (Ad) to generate a helper virus (HV) that was detargeted for native adenoviral tropism and contained DRG homing peptides in the adenoviral capsid fiber protein; we used this HV to generate DRG-targeted helper-dependent Ad (HDAd). In mice, intrathecal injection of this HDAd produced a 100-fold higher transduction of DRG neurons and a markedly attenuated inflammatory response compared with unmodified HDAd. We also injected HDAd encoding the β subunit of β-hexosaminidase (Hexb) into Hexb-deficient mice, a model of the neuronopathy Sandhoff disease. Delivery of the DRG-targeted HDAd reinstated neuron-specific Hexb production, reversed gangliosidosis, and ameliorated peripheral sensory dysfunction. The development of DRG neuron–targeted HDAd with proven efficacy in a preclinical model may have implications for the treatment of sensory neuronopathies of diverse etiologies.
Tomoya Terashima, Kazuhiro Oka, Angelika B. Kritz, Hideto Kojima, Andrew H. Baker, Lawrence Chan
Transduction of DRG neurons by fiber-modified HV.