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  • Author or Editor: Cathleen Sookdeo Cornell x
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OBJECTIVE To evaluate gene transfer of recombinant adeno-associated viral (rAAV) vectors with AAV2 or AAV5 capsid and encoding hyaluronic acid (HA) synthase-2 (HAS2) into joints of healthy dogs.

ANIMALS 22 purpose-bred Beagles.

PROCEDURES Plasmid expression cassettes encoding canine HAS2 (cHAS2) were assessed in vitro for concentration and molecular size of secreted HA. Thereafter, rAAV2-cHAS2 vectors at 3 concentrations and rAAV5-cHAS2 vectors at 1 concentration were each administered intra-articularly into the left stifle joint of 5 dogs; 2 dogs received PBS solution instead. Synovial fluid HA concentration and serum and synovial fluid titers of neutralizing antibodies against AAV capsids were measured at various points. Dogs were euthanized 28 days after treatment, and cartilage and synovium samples were collected for vector DNA and mRNA quantification and histologic examination.

RESULTS Cell transfection with plasmids encoding cHAS2 resulted in an increase in production and secretion of HA in vitro. In vivo, the rAAV5-cHAS2 vector yielded uniform genome transfer and cHAS2 expression in collected synovium and cartilage samples. In contrast, rAAV2-cHAS2 vectors were detected inconsistently in synovium and cartilage samples and failed to produce clear dose-related responses. Histologic examination revealed minimal synovial inflammation in joints injected with rAAV vectors. Neutralizing antibodies against AAV capsids were detected in serum and synovial fluid samples from all vector-treated dogs.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE rAAV5-mediated transfer of the gene for cHAS2 into healthy joints of dogs by intra-articular injection appeared safe and resulted in vector-derived cHAS2 production by synoviocytes and chondrocytes. Whether this treatment may increase HA production by synoviocytes and chondrocytes in osteoarthritic joints remains to be determined.

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research