Metachromatic leukodystrophy (MLD) and globoid cell leukodystrophy (GLD or Krabbe disease) are severe neurodegenerative lysosomal storage diseases (LSD) caused by arylsulfatase A (ARSA) and galactosylceramidase (GALC) deficiency, respectively. Our previous studies established lentiviral gene therapy (GT) as a rapid and effective intervention to provide pervasive supply of therapeutic lysosomal enzymes in CNS tissues of MLD and GLD mice. Here, we investigated whether this strategy is similarly effective in juvenile non-human primates (NHP). To provide proof of principle for tolerability and biological efficacy of the strategy, we established a comprehensive study in normal NHP delivering a clinically relevantlentiviral vector encoding for the human ARSA transgene. Then, we injected a lentiviral vector coding for the human GALC transgene in Krabbe-affected rhesus macaques, evaluating for the first time the therapeutic potential of lentiviral GT in this unique LSD model. We showed favorable safety profile and consistent pattern of LV transduction and enzyme biodistribution in the two models, supporting the robustness of the proposed GT platform. We documented moderate inflammation at the injection sites, mild immune response to vector particles in few treated animals, no indication of immune response against transgenic products, and no molecular evidence of insertional genotoxicity. Efficient gene transfer in neurons, astrocytes, and oligodendrocytes close to the injection sites resulted in robust production and extensive spreading of transgenic enzymes in the whole CNS and in CSF, leading to supraphysiological ARSA activity in normal NHP and close to physiological GALC activity in the Krabbe NHP, in which biological efficacy was associated with preliminary indication of therapeutic benefit. These results support the rationale for the clinical translation of intracerebral lentiviral GT to address CNS pathology in MLD, GLD, and other neurodegenerative LSD.
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