Gene transfer for neuroprotection in animal models of Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Martha C. Bohn*, Bronwen Connor, Dorothy A. Kozlowski, M. Hasan Mohajeri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is a potent survival factor for motoneurons (MN) and dopaminergic (DA) neurons, neurons which selectively die in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson's disease (PD). GDNF gene delivery has been studied in rodent models of ALS and PD. In a mouse model of ALS, implantation of myoblasts retrovirally transduced with GDNF into hindlimb muscles at 6 weeks of age, i.e. prior to the onset of disease symptoms, increased the number of large MNs that maintained projections to treated muscles at 18 weeks of age GDNF-treated mice also performed better on tests of motor function and had a delayed onset of disease. In a progressive degeneration rat model of PD, effects of in vivo GDNF gene therapy using an adenoviral vector (AdGDNF) were studied in young and aged rats AdGDNF protected DA neurons against the neurotoxin, 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) and was effective whether injected either before or after 6-OHDA damage had commenced. However, if AdGDNF was injected prior to 6-OHDA, it was most effective in protecting against DA-dependent changes in the brain when injected near the terminals of the DA neurons. In contrast, if 6-OHDA damage had already commenced AdGDNF was most effective if injected near the DA soma. These studies suggest that GDNF gene delivery into specific sites in the CNS or into muscle where MNs have access to secreted GDNF may slow the progression of PD and ALS, respectively. Neurotrophic factor gene therapy offers novel interventions not only for PD and ALS, but also other neurodegenerative diseases and injuries to the nervous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-89
Number of pages20
JournalNovartis Foundation Symposium
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Gene transfer for neuroprotection in animal models of Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this