Comparison of adeno-associated virus pseudotype 1, 2, and 8 vectors administered by intramuscular injection in the treatment of murine phenylketonuria.
Phenylketonuria (PKU) is caused by hepatic phenylalanine hydroxylase (PAH) deficiency and is associated with systemic accumulation of phenylalanine (Phe). Previously we demonstrated correction of murine PKU after intravenous injection of a recombinant type 2 adeno-associated viral vector pseudotyped with type 8 capsid (rAAV2/8), which successfully directed hepatic transduction and Pah gene expression. Here, we report that liver PAH activity and phenylalanine clearance were also restored in PAH-deficient mice after simple intramuscular injection of either AAV2 pseudotype 1 (rAAV2/1) or rAAV2/8 vectors. Serotype 2 AAV vector (rAAV2/2) was also investigated, but long-term phenylalanine clearance has been observed only for pseudotypes 1 and 8. Therapeutic correction was shown in both male and female mice, albeit more effectively in males, in which correction lasted for the entire period of the experiment (>1 year). Although phenylalanine levels began to rise in female mice at about 8-10 months after rAAV2/8 injection they remained only mildly hyperphenylalaninemic thereafter and subsequent supplementation with synthetic tetrahydrobiopterin resulted in a transient decrease in blood phenylalanine. Alternatively, subsequent administration of a second vector with a different AAV pseudotype to avoid immunity against the previously administrated vector was also successful for long-term treatment of female PKU mice. Overall, this relatively less invasive gene transfer approach completes our previous studies and allows comparison of complementary strategies in the development of efficient PKU gene therapy protocols.