Ectopic Expression Of Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 For Gene Therapy Of Type II Diabetes
G. B. Parsons, D. W. Souza, H. Wu, D. Yu, S. G. Wadsworth, R. J. Gregory and D. Armentano
Department of Molecular Biology, Genzyme Corporation, Framingham, MA, USA
Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) is a promising candidate for the treatment of type II diabetes. However, the short in vivo half-life of GLP-1 has made peptide-based treatments challenging. Gene therapy aimed at achieving continuous GLP-1 expression presents one way to circumvent the rapid turnover of GLP-1. We have created a GLP-1 minigene that can direct the secretion of active GLP-1 (amino acids 7–37). Plasmid and adenoviral expression vectors encoding the 31-amino-acid peptide linked to leader sequences required for secretion of GLP-1 yielded sustained levels of active GLP-1 that were significantly greater than endogenous levels. Systemic administration of expression vectors to animals using two diabetic rodent models, db/db mice and Zucker Diabetic Fatty (ZDF) rats, yielded elevated GLP-1 levels that lowered both the fasting and random-fed hyperglycemia present in these animals. Because the insulinotropic actions of GLP-1 are glucose dependent, no evidence of hypoglycemia was observed. Improved glucose homeostasis was demonstrated by improvements in %HbA1c (glycated hemoglobin) and in glucose tolerance tests. GLP-1-treated animals had higher circulating insulin levels and increased insulin immunostaining of pancreatic sections. GLP-1-treated ZDF rats showed diminished food intake and, in the first few weeks following vector administration, a diminished weight gain. These results demonstrate the feasibility of gene therapy for type II diabetes using GLP-1 expression vectors.
Dr GB Parsons, Department of Molecular Biology, Genzyme Corporation, 31 New York Avenue, Framingham, MA 01701, USA.
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