The progress of AAV-mediated gene therapy in neuromuscular disorders

Sara Aguti, Alberto Malerba, Haiyan Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: The well-defined genetic causes and monogenetic nature of many neuromuscular disorders, including Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), present gene therapy as a prominent therapeutic approach. The novel variants of adeno-associated virus (AAV) can achieve satisfactory transduction efficiency of exogenous genes through the central nervous system and body-wide in skeletal muscle.

AREAS COVERED: In this review, we summarize the strategies of AAV gene therapy that are currently under preclinical and clinical evaluation for the treatment of degenerative neuromuscular disorders, with a focus on diseases such as DMD and SMA. In addition to gene replacement strategy, we provide an overview of other approaches such as AAV-mediated RNA therapy and gene editing in the treatment of muscular dystrophies.

EXPERT OPINION: AAV gene therapy has achieved striking therapeutic efficacy in clinical trials in infants with SMA. Promising results have also come from the preclinical studies in small and large animal models of DMD and several clinical trials are now on the way. This strategy shows great potential as a therapy for various neuromuscular disorders. Further studies are still required to confirm its long-term safety and improve the efficacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-693
Number of pages13
JournalExpert Opinion on Biological Therapy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


  • Animals
  • Dependovirus/genetics
  • Genetic Therapy/methods
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Muscle, Skeletal/metabolism
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal/genetics
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne/genetics

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