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Investigating the Impact of Delivery Routes for Exon Skipping Therapies in the CNS of DMD Mouse Models

Saoudi A, Fergus C, Gileadi T, Montanaro F, Morgan JE, Kelly VP, Tensorer T, Garcia L, Vaillend C, Muntoni F, Goyenvalle A
Cells. 2023;12(6):908. doi:10.3390/cells12060908
Nucleic acid-based therapies have demonstrated great potential for the treatment of monogenetic diseases, including neurologic disorders. To date, regulatory approval has been received for a dozen antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs); however, these chemistries cannot readily cross the blood–brain barrier when administered systemically. Therefore, an investigation of their potential effects within the central nervous system (CNS) requires local delivery. Here, we studied the brain distribution and exon-skipping efficacy of two ASO chemistries, PMO and tcDNA, when delivered to the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of mice carrying a deletion in exon 52 of the dystrophin gene, a model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Following intracerebroventricular (ICV) delivery (unilateral, bilateral, bolus vs. slow rate, repeated via cannula or very slow via osmotic pumps), ASO levels were quantified across brain regions and exon 51 skipping was evaluated, revealing that tcDNA treatment invariably generates comparable or more skipping relative to that with PMO, even when the PMO was administered at higher doses. We also performed intra-cisterna magna (ICM) delivery as an alternative route for CSF delivery and found a biased distribution of the ASOs towards posterior brain regions, including the cerebellum, hindbrain, and the cervical part of the spinal cord. Finally, we combined both ICV and ICM injection methods to assess the potential of an additive effect of this methodology in inducing efficient exon skipping across different brain regions. Our results provide useful insights into the local delivery and associated efficacy of ASOs in the CNS in mouse models of DMD. These findings pave the way for further ASO-based therapy application to the CNS for neurological disease.
Not Epub
Organism or Cell Type: 
Delivery Method: 
intraperitoneal ip, intracerebroventricular icv, intra-cisterna magna icm, osmotic pump