Gene Delivery to Spinal Motor Neurons

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This study demonstrates the direct delivery of plasmid gene constructs into spinal motor neurons utilizing retrograde axoplasmic transport. The plasmid vectors contained the Lac Z gene under the control of both the Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) and Simian virus (SV)40 promoters. β-Galactosidase expression was observed in α and γ motor neurons by histochemical staining following direct injection into the sciatic nerve or gastrocnemius muscle. The presence of LacZ gene constructs was confirmed by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The ability to introduce gene constructs into motor neurons allows for the study of gene regulation and permits the development of gene therapy strategies for motor neuron diseases including the spinal muscular atrophies (SMA) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).