Effective cell and gene therapy in a murine model of Gaucher disease.
Gaucher disease (GD) is a lysosomal storage disorder due to an inherited deficiency in the enzyme glucosylceramidase (GCase) that causes hepatosplenomegaly, cytopenias, and bone disease as key clinical symptoms. Previous mouse models with GCase deficiency have been lethal in the perinatal period or viable without displaying the clinical features of GD. We have generated viable mice with characteristic clinical symptoms of type 1 GD by conditionally deleting GCase exons 9-11 upon postnatal induction. Both transplantation of WT bone marrow (BM) and gene therapy through retroviral transduction of BM from GD mice prevented development of disease and corrected an already established GD phenotype. The gene therapy approach generated considerably higher GCase activity than transplantation of WT BM. Strikingly, both therapeutic modalities normalized glucosylceramide levels and practically no infiltration of Gaucher cells could be observed in BM, spleen, and liver, demonstrating correction at 5-6 months after treatment. The findings demonstrate the feasibility of gene therapy for type 1 GD in vivo. Our type 1 GD mice will serve as an excellent tool in the continued efforts toward development of safe and efficient cell and gene therapy for type 1 GD.