, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 129–138 | Cite as

Tyrosine hydroxylase replacement in experimental Parkinson’s disease with transvascular gene therapy

  • William M. Pardridge


Transvascular gene therapy of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a new approach to the gene therapy of PD and involves the global distribution of a therapeutic gene to brain after an intravenous administration and transport across the blood-brain barrier (BBB). This is enabled with the development of a nonviral gene transfer technology that encapsulates plasmid DNA inside pegylated immunoliposomes or PILs. An 85- to 100-nm liposome carries the DNA inside the nanocontainer, and the liposome surface is conjugated with several thousand strands of 2000-Da polyethyleneglycol (PEG). This PEGylation of the liposome stabilizes the structure in the blood stream. The liposome is targeted across the BBB via attachment to the tips of 1–2% of the PEG strands of a receptor-specific monoclonal antibody (mAb) directed at a BBB receptor, such as the insulin receptor or transferrin receptor (TfR). Owing to the expression of the insulin receptor or the TfR on both the BBB and the neuronal plasma membrane, the PIL is able to reach the neuronal nuclear compartment from the circulation. Brain-specific expression is possible with the combined use of the PIL gene transfer technology and brain-specific gene promoters. In the 6-hydroxydopamine rat model of experimental PD, striatal tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) activity is completely normalized after an intravenous administration of TfRmAb-targeted PILs carrying a TH expression plasmid. A treatment for PD may be possible with dual gene therapy that seeks both to replace striatal TH gene expression with TH gene therapy, and to halt or reverse neurodegeneration of the nigro-striatal tract with neurotrophin gene therapy.

Key Words

Blood-brain barrier liposomes transferrin receptor monoclonal antibody targeting 


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Copyright information

© The American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, Inc 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MedicineUCLALos Angeles

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