Lentiviral Vector Mediated Haematopoietic Stem Cell Gene Therapy For Mucopolysaccharidosis Type IIIA

  • Alexander Langford-Smith

Student thesis: Phd


Mucopolysaccharidosis type III (Sanfilippo) is comprised of four phenotypically similar lysosomal storage disorders (MPS IIIA-D) caused by the deficiency of enzymes that catabolise heparan sulphate (HS). Progressive accumulation of HS results in abnormal behaviour, progressive cognitive and motor impairment and death in mid-teens. There are currently no treatments for MPS III. To assess the effect of novel therapeutics in the mouse models of MPS III it is necessary to examine the effect on primary storage of HS, secondary storage and behaviour. The reported behaviour of MPS IIIA and B mice is conflicting therefore we developed a one-hour open field test, performed at the same time of day during a period of hyperactivity observed in a previous circadian rhythm study of MPS IIIB mice. At 8 months of age MPS IIIB mice were hyperactive, with increased rapid exploratory behaviour and a reduction in immobility time. The MPS IIIA mice presented with the same behavioural phenotype as the MPS IIIB mice and were significantly hyperactive at 4 and 6 months of age and also displayed a reduced sense of danger. The hyperactivity and reduced sense of danger observed in the mice is consistent with the patient phenotype. Whilst haematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) is the standard therapy used to treat the similar HS storage disorder MPS I Hurler, it is ineffectual in MPS IIIA. We hypothesise that HSCT failure in MPS IIIA is due to insufficient enzyme production in the brain by donor-derived microglial cells. By increasing expression of N-sulphoglucosamine sulphohydrolase (SGSH) we may be able to treat MPS IIIA. Therefore we compared the effect of HSCT using normal haematopoietic stem cells (WT-HSCT) to lentiviral overexpression of SGSH in normal cells (LV-WT-HSCT) or MPS IIIA cells (LV-IIIA-HSCT) in MPS IIIA mice, using the behavioural tests developed.SGSH activity in the brain of MPS IIIA recipients was not significantly increased by WT-HSCT, but was significantly increased by LV-IIIA-HSCT and LV-WT-HSCT. HS was significantly reduced by all transplants but the best treatment was LV-WT-HSCT. Neuroinflammation, indicated by the number of microglia in the brain, was significantly reduced by all treatments but remains significantly elevated. GM2 gangliosides were significantly reduced by WT-HSCT and LV-WT-HSCT and were no longer significantly elevated, but LV-IIIA-HSCT had no significant effect. Critically LV-WT-HSCT corrected the behaviour at 4 and 6 months of age whilst the other treatments had no significant effect. LV-WT-HSCT and WT-HSCT reduced GM2 gangliosides and neuroinflammation equally but only LV-WT-HSCT corrected behaviour and primary HS storage, suggesting they are the important factors in MPS IIIA pathology.LV-WT-HSCT corrects the neurological phenotype in MPS IIIA mice and is a clinically viable approach to treat MPS IIIA and other neuropathic lysosomal storage disorders.
Date of Award1 Aug 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorBrian Bigger (Supervisor) & Fiona Wilkinson (Supervisor)


  • Haematopoietic Stem Cell
  • Gene Therapy
  • Stem Cell Gene Therapy
  • Open Field
  • Sanfilippo type A
  • Behaviour
  • Sanfilippo
  • Lentiviral Vector
  • Mucopolysaccharidosis type IIIA
  • Lysosomal Storage Disease
  • LSD
  • Lysosomal Storage Disorder
  • MPS
  • Mucopolysaccharidosis

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