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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Prevention of autoimmune disease by retroviral-mediated gene therapy.

T lymphocytes have been implicated in a variety of autoimmune diseases, and therefore one potential therapeutic approach would be to tolerize the pathogenic self-reactive T cells. In this study, we examined whether retroviral gene therapy could be used to induce tolerance and prevent autoimmunity using a transgenic mouse model for experimentally induced diabetes. In this model, the lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) glycoprotein ( gp) is expressed on the beta-islet cells of the pancreas under the control of the rat insulin promoter (RIP). Previous work showed that the T cells specific for the gp remain unaware of the transgenic gp Ag expressed by the iselt cells, and infection with LCMV leads to immune-mediated diabetes. To tolerize the gp-specific pathogenic T cells, a retroviral vector (RV) expressing the LCMV gp was constructed, RV- gp. Replication-defective recombinant retroviruses were used to transduce bone marrow cells, which were subsequently infused into host RIP- gp transgenic animals. Unlike control animals, RV- gp chimeric animals did not possess T cells specific for the gp Ag as measured by proliferation and cytotoxic function, and further analysis suggested that tolerance of the gp-specific self-reactive T cells occurred by clonal deletion. Further experiments demonstrated that chimeric RIP- gp transgenic animals generated using bone marrow transduced with RV- gp did not develop experimentally induced diabetes. Our animal model demonstrates that retroviral gene therapy may cure immune-mediated diabetes by providing long lasting Ag-specific tolerance.[1]


  1. Prevention of autoimmune disease by retroviral-mediated gene therapy. Ally, B.A., Hawley, T.S., McKall-Faienza, K.J., Kündig, T.M., Oehen, S.U., Pircher, H., Hawley, R.G., Ohashi, P.S. J. Immunol. (1995) [Pubmed]
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