Antisense oligonucleotides delivered to the mouse CNS ameliorate symptoms of severe spinal muscular atrophy.

Genzyme Corporation, 49 New York Avenue, Framingham, MA 01701, USA.
Science translational medicine (Impact Factor: 14.41). 03/2011; 3(72):72ra18. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3001777
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an autosomal recessive neuromuscular disorder caused by mutations in the SMN1 gene that result in a deficiency of SMN protein. One approach to treat SMA is to use antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) to redirect the splicing of a paralogous gene, SMN2, to boost production of functional SMN. Injection of a 2'-O-2-methoxyethyl-modified ASO (ASO-10-27) into the cerebral lateral ventricles of mice with a severe form of SMA resulted in splice-mediated increases in SMN protein and in the number of motor neurons in the spinal cord, which led to improvements in muscle physiology, motor function and survival. Intrathecal infusion of ASO-10-27 into cynomolgus monkeys delivered putative therapeutic levels of the oligonucleotide to all regions of the spinal cord. These data demonstrate that central nervous system-directed ASO therapy is efficacious and that intrathecal infusion may represent a practical route for delivering this therapeutic in the clinic.

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    ABSTRACT: Antisense oligonucleotides are synthetic single stranded strings of nucleic acids that bind to RNA and thereby alter or reduce expression of the target RNA. They can reduce expression of mutant proteins by breakdown of the targeted transcript, but they can also restore protein expression or modify proteins through interference with pre-mRNA splicing. There has been a recent revival of interest in the use of antisense oligonucleotides to treat several neurodegenerative disorders using different approaches to prevent disease onset or halt disease progression and the first clinical trials for spinal muscular atrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis showing promising results. For these trials, intrathecal delivery is being used but direct infusion into the brain ventricles and several methods of passing the blood brain barrier after peripheral administration are also under investigation. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
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    ABSTRACT: Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is the most frequent genetic cause of death in infants and toddlers. All cases of spinal muscular atrophy result from reductions in levels of the survival motor neuron (SMN) protein, and so SMN upregulation is a focus of many preclinical and clinical studies. We examine four issues that may be important in planning for therapeutic success. First, neuromuscular phenotypes in the SMNΔ7 mouse model closely match those in human patients but peripheral disease manifestations differ, suggesting that endpoints other than mouse lifespan may be more useful in predicting clinical outcome. Second, SMN plays important roles in multiple central and peripheral cell types, not just motor neurons, and it remains unclear which of these cell types need to be targeted therapeutically. Third, should SMN-restoration therapy not be effective in all patients, blocking molecular changes downstream of SMN reduction may confer significant benefit, making it important to evaluate therapeutic targets other than SMN. Lastly, for patients whose disease progression is slowed, but who retain significant motor dysfunction, additional approaches used to enhance regeneration of the neuromuscular system may be of value.
    01/2015; 7:04. DOI:10.12703/P7-04
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    ABSTRACT: Survival of motor neuron (SMN) deficiency causes spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), but the pathogenesis mechanisms remain elusive. Restoring SMN in motor neurons only partially rescues SMA in mouse models, although it is thought to be therapeutically essential. Here, we address the relative importance of SMN restoration in the central nervous system (CNS) versus peripheral tissues in mouse models using a therapeutic splice-switching antisense oligonucleotide to restore SMN and a complementary decoy oligonucleotide to neutralize its effects in the CNS. Increasing SMN exclusively in peripheral tissues completely rescued necrosis in mild SMA mice and robustly extended survival in severe SMA mice, with significant improvements in vulnerable tissues and motor function. Our data demonstrate a critical role of peripheral pathology in the mortality of SMA mice and indicate that peripheral SMN restoration compensates for its deficiency in the CNS and preserves motor neurons. Thus, SMA is not a cell-autonomous defect of motor neurons in SMA mice. © 2015 Hua et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
    Genes & Development 02/2015; 29(3):288-297. DOI:10.1101/gad.256644.114 · 12.64 Impact Factor