Researchers have conducted numerous pre-clinical and clinical gene transfer studies using recombinant viral vectors derived from a wide range of pathogenic viruses such as adenovirus, adeno-associated virus, and lentivirus. As viral vectors are derived from pathogenic viruses, they have an inherent ability to induce a vector specific immune response when used in vivo. The role of the immune response against the viral vector has been implicated in the inconsistent and unpredictable translation of pre-clinical success into therapeutic efficacy in human clinical trials using gene therapy to treat neurological disorders. Herein we thoroughly examine the effects of the innate and adaptive immune responses on therapeutic gene expression mediated by adenoviral, AAV, and lentiviral vectors systems in both pre-clinical and clinical experiments. Furthermore, the immune responses against gene therapy vectors and the resulting loss of therapeutic gene expression are examined in the context of the architecture and neuroanatomy of the brain immune system. The chapter closes with a discussion of the relationship between the elimination of transgene expression and the in vivo immunological synapses between immune cells and target virally infected brain cells. Importantly, although systemic immune responses against viral vectors injected systemically has thought to be deleterious in a number of trials, results from brain gene therapy clinical trials do not support this general conclusion suggesting brain gene therapy may be safer from an immunological standpoint.
Keywords: dendritic cells, immunoreactivity, cervical lymph nodes, CD8 T cells, transgene expression
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