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  • Author or Editor: James N. MacLeod x
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Objective—To determine the activity of recombinant feline erythropoietin (rfEPO) in murine bioassays and evaluate its efficacy and safety in cats with erythropoietin-dependent nonregenerative anemia.

Animals—26 cats (group 1, 19 cats with anemia attributed to chronic kidney disease [CKD]; group 2, 7 cats with CKD and recombinant human erythropoietin [rhEPO]-induced red cell aplasia [RCA]).

Procedure—The rfEPO was synthesized by use of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells transfected with feline erythropoietin complementary DNA. Preclinical assessments of rfEPO included an erythroid cell proliferation assay and measurements of reticulocytosis in Balb/C mice. Clinical assessments of cats included hematologic, biochemical, and clinical examinations during 12 (group 1) or 6 (group 2) months of rfEPO treatment.

Results—Biological activity of rfEPO was broadly equivalent to rhEPO in preclinical murine bioassays. Median Hct and absolute reticulocyte count in cats increased significantly during the first 3 weeks of rfEPO treatment, and median Hct generally could be maintained within a target range of 30% to 40% with periodic adjustments of rfEPO doses. Unexpectedly, 5 cats in group 1 and 3 cats in group 2 that initially responded to rfEPO treatment again developed anemia that was refractory to additional rfEPO treatments, even at higher doses.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Treatment with rfEPO can reestablish active erythropoiesis in most cats with CKD, even those with anemia attributable to rhEPO-induced RCA. Unfortunately, development of RCA during treatment with CHO cell-derived recombinant erythropoietin proteins was not eliminated as a serious safety concern, even for this feline-specific preparation. (Am J Vet Res 2004;65:1355–1366)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research


Objective—To characterize the biological effects of IM administration of a recombinant adeno-associated virus serotype 2 (rAAV2) vector containing feline erythropoietin (fEPO) cDNA and determine whether readministration of the vector or removal of muscle tissue at the injection sites alters those effects.

Animals—10 healthy 7-week-old specific pathogenfree cats.

Procedure—Cats received 1 × 107 infective units (iU; n = 3), 1 × 108 iU (3), or 1 × 109 iU (2) of rAAV2-fEPO vector IM (day 0). Two control cats received an rAAV2 vector containing the LacZ gene (1 × 109 iU, IM). In all cats, hematologic variables and serum fEPO concentration were measured at intervals; anti-rAAV2 antibody titer was measured on day 227. In cats that did not respond to treatment, the rAAV2- fEPO vector was readministered. Injection sites were subsequently surgically removed.

Results—Compared with control cats, cats treated with 1 × 109 iU of rAAV2-fEPO vector had increased Hct and serum fEPO concentrations. One of these cats developed pure RBC aplasia; its Hct normalized following injection site excision. Cats receiving lower doses of vector had no response; on retreatment, 1 of those cats developed sustained erythrocytosis that persisted despite injection site removal and the others did not respond or responded transiently. Antibodies against rAAV2 were detected in all vector-treated cats.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Gene therapy may be an effective treatment for cats with hypoproliferative anemia. However, rAAV2-fEPO vector administration may result in pure RBC aplasia or pathologic erythrocytosis, and injection site removal does not consistently abolish the biological response. (Am J Vet Res 2005;66:450–456)

Full access
in American Journal of Veterinary Research