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Anti-seizure gene therapy for focal cortical dysplasia

Almacellas Barbanoj, Amanda; Graham, Robert T; Maffei, Benito; Carpenter, Jenna C; Leite, Marco; Hoke, Justin; Hardjo, Felisia; ... Lignani, Gabriele; + view all (2023) Anti-seizure gene therapy for focal cortical dysplasia. Brain 10.1093/brain/awad387. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Focal cortical dysplasias are a common subtype of malformation of cortical development, which frequently presents with a spectrum of cognitive and behavioural abnormalities as well as pharmacoresistant epilepsy. Focal cortical dysplasia type II is typically caused by somatic mutations resulting in mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) hyperactivity, and is the commonest pathology found in children undergoing epilepsy surgery. However, surgical resection does not always result in seizure freedom, and is often precluded by proximity to eloquent brain regions. Gene therapy is a promising potential alternative treatment and may be appropriate in cases that represent an unacceptable surgical risk. Here, we evaluated a gene therapy based on overexpression of the Kv1.1 potassium channel in a mouse model of frontal lobe focal cortical dysplasia. An engineered potassium channel (EKC) transgene was placed under control of a human promoter that biases expression towards principal neurons (CAMK2A) and packaged in an adeno-associated viral vector (AAV9). We used an established focal cortical dysplasia model generated by in utero electroporation of frontal lobe neural progenitors with a constitutively active human Ras homolog enriched in brain (RHEB) plasmid, an activator of mTOR complex 1. We characterized the model by quantifying electrocorticographic and behavioural abnormalities, both in mice developing spontaneous generalized seizures and in mice only exhibiting interictal discharges. Injection of AAV9-CAMK2A-EKC in the dysplastic region resulted in a robust decrease (∼64%) in the frequency of seizures. Despite the robust anti-epileptic effect of the treatment, there was neither an improvement nor a worsening of performance in behavioural tests sensitive to frontal lobe function. AAV9-CAMK2A-EKC had no effect on interictal discharges or behaviour in mice without generalized seizures. AAV9-CAMK2A-EKC gene therapy is a promising therapy with translational potential to treat the epileptic phenotype of mTOR-related malformations of cortical development. Cognitive and behavioural co-morbidities may, however, resist an intervention aimed at reducing circuit excitability.

Type: Article
Title: Anti-seizure gene therapy for focal cortical dysplasia
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/brain/awad387
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awad387
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Guarantors of Brain. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com.
Keywords: Epilepsy; focal cortical dysplasia; gene therapy; translation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Clinical and Experimental Epilepsy
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Neuro, Physiology and Pharmacology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10184358
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