A model of corrective gene transfer in X-linked ichthyosis

Rachel A. Freiberg, Keith A. Choate, Helen Deng, Elisabeth S. Alperin, Larry J. Shapiro, Paul A. Khavari

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    65 Scopus citations


    Single gene recessive genetic skin disorders offer attractive prototypes for the development of therapeutic cutaneous gene delivery. We have utilized X-linked ichthyosis (XLI), characterized by loss of function of the steroid sulfatase arylsulfatase C (STS), to develop a model of corrective gene delivery to human skin in vivo. A new retroviral expression vector was produced and utilized to effect STS gene transfer to primary keratinocytes from XLI patients. Transduction was associated with restoration of full-length STS protein expression as well as steroid sulfatase enzymatic activity in proportion to the number of proviral integrations in XLI cells. Transduced and uncorrected XLI keratinocytes, along with normal controls, were then grafted onto immunodeficient mice to regenerate full thickness human epidermis. Unmodified XLI keratinocytes regenerated a hyperkeratotic epidermis lacking STS expression with defective skin barrier function, effectively recapitulating the human disease in vivo. Transduced XLI keratinocytes from the same patients, however regenerated epidermis histologically indistinguishable from that formed by keratinocytes from patients with normal skin. Transduced XLI epidermis demonstrated STS expression in vivo by immunostaining as well as a normalization of histologic appearance at 5 weeks post-grafting. In addition, transduced XLI epidermis demonstrated a return of barrier function parameters to normal. These findings demonstrate corrective gene delivery in human XLI patient skin tissue at both molecular and functional levels and provide a model of human cutaneous gene therapy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)927-933
    Number of pages7
    JournalHuman molecular genetics
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Jun 1997


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