Helen L. Fitzsimons

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Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a gut peptide that, together with its receptor, GLP-1R, is expressed in the brain. Here we show that intracerebroventricular (i.c.v.) GLP-1 and [Ser(2)]exendin(1-9) (HSEGTFTSD; homologous to a conserved domain in the glucagon/GLP-1 family) enhance associative and spatial learning through GLP-1R. [Ser(2)]exendin(1-9), but(More)
BACKGROUND Dopaminergic neuronal loss in Parkinson's disease leads to changes in the circuitry of the basal ganglia, such as decreased inhibitory GABAergic input to the subthalamic nucleus. We aimed to measure the safety, tolerability, and potential efficacy of transfer of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) gene with adeno-associated virus (AAV) into the(More)
The motor abnormalities of Parkinson's disease (PD) are caused by alterations in basal ganglia network activity, including disinhibition of the subthalamic nucleus (STN), and excessive activity of the major output nuclei. Using adeno-associated viral vector-mediated somatic cell gene transfer, we expressed glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD), the enzyme that(More)
This study compared a range of mammalian CNS expression cassettes in recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV-2) vectors using strong endogenous promoter sequences, with or without a strong post-regulatory element and polyadenylation signal. Changes in these elements led to transgene expression varying by over three orders of magnitude. In experiments(More)
Parkinson's disease (PD) is associated with increased excitatory activity within the subthalamic nucleus (STN). We sought to inhibit STN output in hemiparkinsonian macaques by transfection with adeno-associated virus (AAV) containing the gene for glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD). In total, 13 macaques were rendered hemiparkinsonian by right intracarotid(More)
Gene therapy may represent a promising alternative treatment of epileptic patients who are resistant to conventional anti-epileptic drugs. Among the various approaches for the application of gene therapy in the treatment of CNS disorders, recombinant adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors have been most widely used. Preclinical studies using a selection of(More)
Recombinant AAV is increasingly becoming the vector of choice for many gene therapy applications in the CNS, due to its lack of toxicity and high level of sustained expression. With recent improvements in the generation of pure, high titer vector stocks, the regulation of gene expression is now a key issue for successful translation of gene therapy-based(More)
The brain is generally considered immunoprivileged, although increasing examples of immunological responses to brain antigens, neuronal expression of major histocompatibility class I genes, and neurological autoimmunity have been recognized. An adeno-associated virus (AAV) vaccine generated autoantibodies that targeted a specific brain protein, the NR1(More)
Recombinant adeno-associated viruses (rAAV) are highly efficient vectors for gene transfer into the central nervous system (CNS). However, a major hurdle for gene delivery to the mammalian brain is to achieve high-level transduction in target cells beyond the immediate injection site. Therefore, in addition to improvements in expression cassettes and viral(More)
We report the characterization of a new rapid-onset model of Huntington's disease (HD) generated by adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector-mediated gene transfer of N-terminal huntingtin (htt) constructs into the rat striatum. Expression of exon 1 of mutant htt containing 70 CAG repeats rapidly led to neuropathological features associated with HD. In addition,(More)