Summary. Background: Transplantation of cells overexpressing a target protein represents a viable gene therapeutic approach for treating hemophilia. Here, we focused on the use of autologous mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) expressing coagulation factor for the treatment of coagulation factor VIII (FVIII) deficiency in mice.
Methods and Results: Analysis of luciferase gene constructs driven by different promoters revealed that the plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) gene promoter coupled with the cytomegalovirus promoter enhancer region was one of the most effective promoters for producing the target protein. MSCs transduced with the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) vector containing the FVIII gene driven by the PAI-1 promoter expressed FVIII for several months, and this expression was maintained after multiple mesenchymal lineage differentiation. Although intravenous injection of cell supernatant derived from MSCs transduced with an SIV vector containing the FVIII gene driven by the PAI-1 promoter significantly increased plasma FVIII levels, subcutaneous implantation of the MSCs resulted in a transient and weak increase in plasma FVIII levels in FVIII-deficient mice. Interestingly, intra-articular injection of the transduced MSCs significantly ameliorated the hemarthrosis and hemophilic arthropathy induced by knee joint needle puncture in FVIII-deficient mice. The therapeutic effects of a single intra-articular injection of transduced MSCs to inhibit joint bleeding persisted for at least 8 weeks after administration.
Conclusions: MSCs provide a promising autologous cell source for the production of coagulation factor. Intra-articular injection of MSCs expressing coagulation factor may offer an attractive treatment approach for hemophilic arthropathy.