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This article is the author's final published version in BioImpacts, Volume 11, Issue 2, February 2021, Pages 135 - 146.

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Copyright © 2021 The Author(s).

This work is published by BioImpacts as an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted, provided the original work is properly cited.


Introduction: Krabbe disease (KD) is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the galactocerebrosidase (GALC) gene resulting in neuro-inflammation and defective myelination in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Most infantile patients present with clinical features before six months of age and die before two years of age. The only treatment available for pre-symptomatic or mildly affected individuals is hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). In the animal models, combining bone marrow transplantation (BMT) with gene therapy has shown the best results in disease outcome. In this study, we examine the outcome of gene therapy alone.

Methods: Twitcher (twi) mice used in the study, have a W339X mutation in the GALC gene. Genotype identification of the mice was performed shortly after birth or post-natal day 1 (PND1), using polymerase chain reaction on the toe clips followed by restriction enzyme digestion and electrophoresis. Eight or nine-day-old affected mice were used for gene therapy treatment alone or combined with BMT. While iv injection of 4 × 1013 gc/kg of body weight of viral vector was used originally, different viral titers were also used without BMT to evaluate their outcomes.

Results: When the standard viral dose was increased four- and ten-fold (4X and 10X) without BMT, the lifespans were increased significantly. Without BMT the affected mice were fertile, had the same weight and appearance as wild type mice and had normal strength and gait. The brains showed no staining for CD68, a marker for activated microglia/macrophages, and less astrogliosis than untreated twi mice.

Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that, it may be possible to treat human KD patients with high dose AAVrh10 without blood stem cell transplantation which would eliminate the side effects of HSCT.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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