Intralingual Administration of AAVrh10-miRSOD1 Improves Respiratory But Not Swallowing Function in a Superoxide Dismutase-1 Mouse Model of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal disease characterized by degeneration of motor neurons and muscles, and death is usually a result of impaired respiratory function due to loss of motor neurons that control upper airway muscles and/or the diaphragm. Currently, no cure for ALS exists and treatments to date do not significantly improve respiratory or swallowing function. One cause of ALS is a mutation in the superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1) gene; thus, reducing expression of the mutated gene may slow the progression of the disease. Our group has been studying the SOD1G93A transgenic mouse model of ALS that develops progressive respiratory deficits and dysphagia. We hypothesize that solely treating the tongue in SOD1 mice will preserve respiratory and swallowing function, and it will prolong survival. At 6 weeks of age, 11 SOD1G93A mice (both sexes) received a single intralingual injection of gene therapy (AAVrh10-miRSOD1). Another 29 mice (both sexes) were divided into two control groups: (1) 12 SOD1G93A mice that received a single intralingual vehicle injection (saline); and (2) 17 non-transgenic littermates. Starting at 13 weeks of age, plethysmography (respiratory parameters) at baseline and in response to hypoxia (11% O2) + hypercapnia (7% CO2) were recorded and videofluoroscopic swallow study testing were performed twice monthly until end-stage disease. Minute ventilation during hypoxia + hypercapnia and mean inspiratory flow at baseline were significantly reduced (p < 0.05) in vehicle-injected, but not AAVrh10-miRSOD1-injected SOD1G93A mice as compared with wild-type mice. In contrast, swallowing function was unchanged by AAVrh10-miRSOD1 treatment (p > 0.05). AAVrh10-miRSOD1 injections also significantly extended survival in females by ∼1 week. In conclusion, this study indicates that intralingual AAVrh10-miRSOD1 treatment preserved respiratory (but not swallowing) function potentially via increasing upper airway patency, and it is worthy of further exploration as a possible therapy to preserve respiratory capacity in ALS patients.
Lind, LA; Andel, EM; McCall, AL; Dhindsa, JS; Johnson, KA; Stricklin, OE; Mueller, C; ElMallah, MK; Lever, TE; Nichols, NL
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