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X-linked Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT1X), one of the commonest forms of inherited demyelinating neuropathy, results from GJB1 gene mutations causing loss of function of the gap junction protein connexin32 (Cx32). The aim of this study was to examine whether delayed gene replacement therapy after the onset of peripheral neuropathy can provide a therapeutic benefit in the Gjb1-null/Cx32 knockout (KO) model of CMT1X. After delivery of the LV-Mpz.GJB1 lentiviral vector by a single lumbar intrathecal injection into 6-month old Gjb1-null mice we confirmed expression of Cx32 in lumbar roots and sciatic nerves correctly localized at the paranodal myelin areas. Gjb1-null mice treated with LV-Mpz.GJB1 compared to LV-Mpz.Egfp (mock) vector at the age of 6 months showed improved motor performance at 8 and 10 months. Furthermore, treated mice showed increased sciatic nerve conduction velocities, improvement of myelination and reduced inflammation in lumbar roots and peripheral nerves at 10 months of age, along with enhanced quadriceps muscle innervation. Plasma neurofilament light (NEFL) levels, a clinically relevant biomarker, were also ameliorated in fully treated mice. Intrathecal gene delivery after the onset of peripheral neuropathy offers a significant therapeutic benefit in this disease model, providing a proof of principle for treating patients with CMT1X at different ages.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Human molecular genetics
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Neurology - Central Nervous System (CNS)
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