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PURPOSE: Epilepsy is a common neurological condition characterised by recurrent unprovoked seizures and often treatable with appropriate medication. However, almost 30% of cases are pharmacoresistant and while a proportion of these may be amenable to resective surgery, a gene therapy approach could be an attractive alternative option. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) has anticonvulsant and anti-epileptogenic properties in animal models of temporal lobe epilepsy when delivered by an adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector. Here we sought to demonstrate successful secretion of NPY from AAV-transduced human neuronal cells, which would be essential in planning any clinical trial. METHODS: A human neuroblastoma cell line (SH-SY5Y) was used to assess in vitro whether an AAV vector manufactured to clinical-grade protocols would be effective at transducing these cells to express NPY. Optimal transduction efficiency was first achieved with retinoic acid and tetradecanoylphorpol-13-acetate (TPA) treatment, prior to expose to AAV1-green fluorescent protein (GFP) reporter vector, AAV1-NPY therapeutic vector or sham treated with no vector. Levels of NPY in cell supernatants were determined using two antibody-based methods RESULTS: We found that the levels of NPY released into the cell culture media supernatant, and protein extracts of the cell pellet, were significantly higher following exposure to AAV1-NPY than when compared to either a control GFP reporter vector (AAV1-GFP) or sham treated controls. CONCLUSION: This first demonstration that an AAV-NPY construct can successfully transduce human neuronal cells supports the pre-clinical development of a clinical trial using AAV-based NPY for pharmacoresistant epilepsy.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





25 - 29


AAV gene therapy, Epilepsy, Neuropeptide Y, SH-SY5Y cell line, Cell Line, Tumor, Dependovirus, Drug Resistant Epilepsy, Genetic Therapy, Genetic Vectors, Humans, Neuroblastoma, Neurons, Neuropeptide Y