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Enhanced gene transfer to arthritic joints using adeno-associated virus type 5: implications for intra-articular gene therapy
  1. J Adriaansen1,
  2. S W Tas1,
  3. P L Klarenbeek1,
  4. A C Bakker2,
  5. F Apparailly3,
  6. G S Firestein4,
  7. C Jorgensen5,
  8. M J B M Vervoordeldonk1,
  9. P P Tak1
  1. 1Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, AMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2Amsterdam Molecular Therapeutics, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  3. 3Unité de recherches d’immunopathologie des maladies tumorales et auto-immunes INSERM U475, Montpellier, France
  4. 4Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, and Immunology, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA
  5. 5Service d’Immuno-rhumatologie, CHU Lapeyronie, Montpellier, France
  1. Correspondence to:
    Professor P P Tak
    Academic Medical Centre, Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, Meibergdreef 9, Room F4-218, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands;


Background: Gene therapy of the joint has great potential as a new therapeutic approach for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The vector chosen is of crucial importance for clinical success.

Objective: To investigate the tropism and transduction efficiency in arthritic joints in vivo, and in synovial cells in vitro, using five different serotypes of recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) encoding β-galactosidase or green fluorescent protein genes.

Methods: rAAV was injected into the ankle joints of rats with adjuvant arthritis after the onset of disease. Synovial tissue was examined at different time points for β-galactosidase protein and gene expression by in situ staining and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis, respectively. In addition, the ability of rAAV to transduce primary human fibroblast-like synoviocytes from patients with RA was investigated in vitro.

Results: Intra-articular injection of the rAAV5 serotype resulted in the highest synovial transduction, followed by much lower expression using rAAV2. Expression of the transgene was already detectable 7 days after injection and lasted for at least 4 weeks. Only background staining was seen for serotypes 1, 3, and 4. Importantly, there was a minimal humoral immune response to rAAV5 compared with rAAV2. Additionally, it was found that both rAAV2 and rAAV5 can efficiently transduce human fibroblast-like synoviocytes obtained from patients with RA.

Conclusion: Intra-articular rAAV mediated gene therapy in RA might be improved by using rAAV5 rather than other serotypes.

  • AIA, adjuvant induced arthritis
  • CMV, cytomegalovirus
  • FLS, fibroblast-like synoviocytes
  • GC, genomic copies
  • gDNA, genomic DNA
  • GAPDH, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase
  • GFP, green fluorescent protein
  • IOD, integrated optical density
  • MOD, mean optical density
  • PBS, phosphate buffered saline
  • PCR, poymerase chain reaction
  • RA, rheumatoid arthritis
  • rAAV, recombinant adeno-associated virus
  • adeno-associated virus
  • serotypes
  • rheumatoid arthritis
  • synovium
  • gene therapy

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