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Neuroendocrinology of Aging: The Potential of Gene Therapy as an Interventive Strategy

Goya R.G. · Bolognani F. · Hereñú C.B. · Rimoldi O.J.
Institute for Biochemical Research of La Plata – Histology ‘B’, Faculty of Medicine, National University of La Plata, Argentina Gerontology 2001;47:168–173 (DOI:10.1159/000052792)

Abstract

Objective: This paper reviews the current status of gene therapy in the neuroendocrine system and discusses the interventive potential of this methodology for neuroendocrine pathologies associated with aging. Background and Results: A brief description is first presented of the viral-vector-based gene delivery systems being currently used in the neuroendocrine system, namely the adenoviral and herpetic (HSV1) vector systems. Next, an account of the neuroendocrine pathologies for which gene therapy approaches in animal models are being implemented is provided. This includes the treatment of experimental pituitary tumors by adenoviral-vector-mediated transfer of the suicide gene for the HSV-1 thymidine kinase. At the hypothalamic level, an adenovirus harboring the cDNA for arginine vasopressin has been used in Brattleboro rats to correct their diabetes insipidus. Next, the interventive potential of gene therapy for correcting age-associated neurodegenerative processes at neuroendocrine level is outlined. Finally, the role that emerging technologies may play in the development of future genetic therapies for aging is considered. Conclusion: Although effective implementation of gene therapy strategies still faces significant technical obstacles, these are likely to be progressively overcome as gene delivery systems are refined.

 

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