Heterogeneity of the immune response to adenovirus-mediated factor VIII gene therapy in different inbred hemophilic mouse strains
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BACKGROUND: The development of anti-factor VIII (FVIII) antibodies (inhibitors) is a critical concern when considering gene therapy as a potential treatment modality for hemophilia A. We used a hemophilia A mouse model bred on different genetic backgrounds to explore genetically controlled differences in the immune response to FVIII gene therapy. METHODS: C57BL/6 FVIII knockout (C57-FVIIIKO) mice were bred with normal BALB/c (BAL) mice, to generate a recombinant congenic BAL-FVIIIKO model of hemophilia A. Early generation adenoviral (Ad) vectors containing the canine FVIII B-domain-deleted transgene under the control of either the CMV promoter or a tissue-restricted (TR) promoter were administered to C57-FVIIIKO, C57xBAL(F1)-FVIIIKO crosses, and BAL-FVIIIKO mice. FVIII expression, inhibitor development, inflammation, and vector-mediated toxicity were assessed. RESULTS: In response to administration of Ad-CMV-cFVIII, C57-FVIIIKO mice attain 3-fold higher levels of FVIII expression than BAL-FVIIIKO. All strains injected with Ad-CMV-FVIII displayed FVIII expression lasting only 2 weeks, with associated inhibitor development. C57-FVIII-KO mice that received Ad-TR-FVIII expressed FVIII for 12 months post-injection, whereas FVIII expression was limited to 1 week in C57xBAL(F1)-FVIIIKO and BAL-FVIIIKO mice. This loss of expression was associated with anti-FVIII inhibitor development. BAL-FVIIIKO mice showed increased hepatotoxicity with alanine aminotransferase levels reaching 4-fold higher levels than C57-FVIIIKO mice. However, C57-FVIIIKO mice initiate a more rapid and effective cell-mediated clearance of virally transduced cells than BAL-FVIIIKO, as evidenced by real-time PCR analysis of transduced tissues. Overall, strain-dependent differences in the immune response to FVIII gene delivery were only noted in the adaptive response, and not in the innate response. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that the genetic background of the murine model of hemophilia A influences FVIII expression levels, the development of anti-FVIII inhibitors, clearance of transduced cells, and the severity of vector-mediated hepatotoxicity.
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