May 9, 2021

Antisense oligonucleotide therapy for KCNT1 encephalopathy

Developmental and epileptic encephalopathies (DEE) are characterized by pharmacoresistant seizures with concomitant intellectual disability. Epilepsy of infancy with migrating focal seizures (EIMFS) is one of the most severe of these syndromes. De novo mutations in ion channels, including gain-of-function variants in KCNT1, have been found to play a major role in the etiology of EIMFS. Here, we test a potential precision therapeutic approach in KCNT1-associated DEE using a gene silencing antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) approach. The homozygous p.P924L (L/L) mouse model recapitulates the frequent, debilitating seizures and developmental compromise that are seen in patients. After a single intracerebroventricular bolus injection of a Kcnt1 gapmer ASO in symptomatic mice at postnatal day 40, seizure frequency was significantly reduced, behavioral abnormalities improved, and overall survival was extended compared to mice treated with a control ASO (non-hybridizing sequence). ASO administration at neonatal age was also well-tolerated and effective in controlling seizures and extending the lifespan of treated animals. The data presented here provides a proof of concept for ASO-based gene silencing as a promising therapeutic approach in KCNT1-associated epilepsies.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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