SMN mRNA and protein levels in peripheral blood: Biomarkers for SMA clinical trials

C. J. Sumner, S. J. Kolb, G. G. Harmison, N. O. Jeffries, K. Schadt, R. S. Finkel, G. Dreyfuss, K. H. Fischbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Clinical trials of drugs that increase SMN protein levels in vitro are currently under way in patients with spinal muscular atrophy. OBJECTIVE: To develop and validate measures of SMN mRNA and protein in peripheral blood and to establish baseline SMN levels in a cohort of controls, carriers, and patients of known genotype, which could be used to follow response to treatment. METHODS: SMN1 and SMN2 gene copy numbers were determined in blood samples collected from 86 subjects. Quantitative reverse transcription PCR was used to measure blood levels of SMN mRNA with and without exon 7. A cell immunoassay was used to measure blood levels of SMN protein. RESULTS: Blood levels of SMN mRNA and protein were measured with high reliability. There was little variation in SMN levels in individual subjects over a 5-week period. Levels of exon 7-containing SMN mRNA and SMN protein correlated with SMN1 and SMN2 gene copy number. With the exception of type I SMA, there was no correlation between SMN levels and disease severity. CONCLUSION: SMN mRNA and protein levels can be reliably measured in the peripheral blood and used during clinical trials in spinal muscular atrophy, but these levels do not necessarily predict disease severity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1067-1073
Number of pages7
JournalNeurology
Volume66
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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