RNA interference-based therapy for spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 retinal degeneration.

PloS one

PubMedID: 24759684

Ramachandran PS, Bhattarai S, Singh P, Boudreau RL, Thompson S, Laspada AR, Drack AV, Davidson BL. RNA interference-based therapy for spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 retinal degeneration. PLoS ONE. 2014;9(4):e95362.
Spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7) is an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disease characterized by loss of motor coordination and retinal degeneration with no current therapies in the clinic. The causative mutation is an expanded CAG repeat in the ataxin-7 gene whose mutant protein product causes cerebellar and brainstem degeneration and retinal cone-rod dystrophy. Here, we reduced the expression of both mutant and wildtype ataxin-7 in the SCA7 mouse retina by RNA interference and evaluated retinal function 23 weeks post injection. We observed a preservation of normal retinal function and no adverse toxicity with =50% reduction of mutant and wildtype ataxin-7 alleles. These studies address an important safety concern regarding non-allele specific silencing of ataxin-7 for SCA7 retinal therapy.