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    The development of new therapies to slow down or halt the progression of Parkinson's disease is a health care priority. A key pathological feature is the presence of alpha-synuclein aggregates, and there is increasing evidence that alpha-synuclein propagation plays a central role in disease progression. Consequently, the downregulation of alpha-synuclein is a potential therapeutic target. As a chronic disease, the ideal treatment will be minimally invasive and effective in the long-term. Knockdown of gene expression has clear potential, and siRNAs specific to alpha-synuclein have been designed; however, the efficacy of siRNA treatment is limited by its short-term efficacy. To combat this, we designed shRNA minicircles (shRNA-MCs), with the potential for prolonged effectiveness, and used RVG-exosomes as the vehicle for specific delivery into the brain. We optimized this system using transgenic mice expressing GFP and demonstrated its ability to downregulate GFP protein expression in the brain for up to 6 weeks. RVG-exosomes were used to deliver anti-alpha-synuclein shRNA-MC therapy to the alpha-synuclein preformed-fibril-induced model of parkinsonism. This therapy decreased alpha-synuclein aggregation, reduced the loss of dopaminergic neurons, and improved the clinical symptoms. Our results confirm the therapeutic potential of shRNA-MCs delivered by RVG-exosomes for long-term treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. Copyright © 2019 The American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


    María Izco, Javier Blesa, Martin Schleef, Marco Schmeer, Riccardo Porcari, Raya Al-Shawi, Stephan Ellmerich, María de Toro, Chris Gardiner, Yiqi Seow, Alejandro Reinares-Sebastian, Raquel Forcen, J Paul Simons, Vittorio Bellotti, J Mark Cooper, Lydia Alvarez-Erviti. Systemic Exosomal Delivery of shRNA Minicircles Prevents Parkinsonian Pathology. Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy. 2019 Dec 04;27(12):2111-2122

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    PMID: 31501034

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