Acute toxicity study of a simian immunodeficiency virus-based lentiviral vector for retinal gene transfer in nonhuman primates.

Research paper by Yasuhiro Y Ikeda, Yoshikazu Y Yonemitsu, Masanori M Miyazaki, Ri-ichiro R Kohno, Yusuke Y Murakami, Toshinori T Murata, Yoshinobu Y Goto, Toshiaki T Tabata, Yasuji Y Ueda, Fumiko F Ono, Toshimichi T Suzuki, Naohide N Ageyama, Keiji K Terao, Mamoru M Hasegawa, Katsuo K Sueishi, et al.

Indexed on: 07 May '09Published on: 07 May '09Published in: Human gene therapy


A phase 1 clinical trial evaluating the safety of gene therapy for patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or retinoblastoma has been completed without problems. The efficacy of gene therapy for Leber's congenital amaurosis (LCA) was reported by three groups. Gene therapy may thus hold promise as a therapeutic method for the treatment of intractable ocular diseases. However, it will first be important to precisely evaluate the efficiency and safety of alternative gene transfer vectors in a preclinical study using large animals. In the present study, we evaluated the acute local (ophthalmic) and systemic toxicity of our simian immunodeficiency virus from African green monkeys (SIVagm)-based lentiviral vectors carrying human pigment epithelium-derived factor (SIV-hPEDF) for transferring genes into nonhuman primate retinas. Transient inflammation and elevation of intraocular pressure were observed in some animals, but these effects were not dose dependent. Electroretinograms (ERGs), including multifocal ERGs, revealed no remarkable change in retinal function. Histopathologically, SIV-hPEDF administration resulted in a certain degree of inflammatory reaction and no apparent structural destruction in retinal tissue. Regarding systemic toxicity, none of the animals died, and none showed any serious side effects during the experimental course. No vector leakage was detected in serum or urine samples. We thus propose that SIVagm-mediated stable gene transfer might be useful and safe for ocular gene transfer in a clinical setting.