Niemann-Pick disease is caused by a genetic deficiency in acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) leading to the intracellular accumulation of sphingomyelin and cholesterol in lysosomes. In the present study, we evaluated the effects of direct intracerebral transplantation of neural progenitor cells (NPCs) on the brain storage pathology in the ASM knock-out (ASMKO) mouse model of Type A Niemann-Pick disease. NPCs derived from adult mouse brain were genetically modified to express human ASM (hASM) and were transplanted into multiple regions of the ASMKO mouse brain. Transplanted NPCs survived, migrated, and showed region-specific differentiation in the host brain up to 10 weeks after transplantation (the longest time point examined). In vitro, gene-modified NPCs expressed up to 10 times more and released five times more ASM activity into the culture media compared with nontransduced NPCs. In vivo, transplanted cells expressed hASM at levels that were barely detectable by immunostaining but were sufficient for uptake and cross-correction of host cells, leading to reversal of distended lysosomal pathology and regional clearance of sphingomyelin and cholesterol storage. Within the host brain, the area of correction closely overlapped with the distribution of the hASM-modified NPCs. No correction of pathology occurred in brain regions that received transplants of nontransduced NPCs. These results indicate that the presence of transduced NPCs releasing low levels of hASM within the ASMKO mouse brain is necessary and sufficient to reverse lysosomal storage pathology. Potentially, NPCs may serve as a useful gene transfer vehicle for the treatment of CNS pathology in other lysosomal storage diseases and neurodegenerative disorders.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Journal of Neuroscience|
|State||Published - Nov 24 2004|
- Neural progenitor cell
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuroscience (all)