Trafficking CD11b-positive blood cells deliver therapeutic genes to the brain of amyloid-depositing transgenic mice

Lori Lebson, Kevin Nash, Siddharth Kamath, Donna Herber, Nikisha Carty, Daniel C. Lee, Qingyou Li, Karoly Szekeres, Umesh Jinwal, John Koren, Chad A. Dickey, Paul E. Gottschall, Dave Morgan, Marcia N. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


A major question for gene therapy in brain concerns methods to administer therapeutic genes in a uniform manner over major portions of the brain. A second question in neuroimmunology concerns the extent to which monocytes migrate to the CNS in degenerative disorders. Here we show that CD11b+cells (largely monocytes) isolated from the bone marrow of GFP (green fluorescent protein)-expressing donors spontaneouslyhometo compacted amyloid plaques in the brain. Injections of these cells as a single pulse show a rapid clearance from circulation (90min half-life) and tissue residence half-lives of ∼3 d. The uptake into brain was minimal in nontransgenic mice. In transgenic mice containing amyloid deposits, uptake was dramatically increased and associated with a corresponding decrease in monocyte uptake into peripheral organs compared to nontransgeniclittermates. Twice weekly infusions of the CD11b+bone marrow cells transfected with a genetically engineered form of the protease neprilysin completely arrest amyloid deposition in an aggressively depositing transgenic model. Exploiting the natural homing properties of peripherally derived blood cells to deliver therapeutic genes has the advantages of access to the entire CNS, expression largely restricted to sites of injury, low risk of immune reactivity, and fading of expression if adverse reactions are encountered. These observations support the feasibility of testing autologousmonocytesfor application of therapeutic genes in human CNS disease. Moreover, these data support the results from bone marrow grafts that circulating CD11b+cells can enter the CNS without requiring the use of lethal irradiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9651-9658
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number29
StatePublished - Jul 21 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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