Human epidermis consists of a stratified epithelium mainly composed of keratinocytes and relies on a stem cell compartment to undergo constant regeneration, Genetic mutations affecting the capacity of basal keratinocytes to adhere firmly to the epidermal basement membrane lead to severe. and very often lethal, blistering disorders known as epidermolysis bullosa. Gene therapy represents a promising potential treatment for these devastating inherited disorders. Human epidermal stem cells can be cultivated ex vivo and stably transduced with integrating gene transfer vectors. allowing genetic and, more important, phenotypic correction of the adhesion properties of keratinocytes, Here we will review some of the issues that need to be addressed to make gene therapy a realistic treatment for these disorders, such as (1) which cells should be targeted, (2) which approach (in vivo or ex vivo) should be chosen, and (3) which gene transfer vector (retrovirus, lentivirus, or integrating nonviral strategies,) should be used for stable gene correction. In the last 10 years, many reports have shown that gene transfer approaches to target epidermal stem cells are feasible and able to restore the adhesion properties of primary keratinocytes from patients with epidermolysis bullosa. In addition, tremendous progress has been achieved in culturing epidermal stem cells and generating sheets of stratified epithelium tor permanent coverage of full-thickness bums. Gene modification of stem cells in combination with advanced tissue-engineering techniques could therefore represent a realistic option for patient-4 with epidermolysis bullosa.
Gene therapy approaches for epidermolysis bullosa / S., Ferrari; Pellegrini, Graziella; Mavilio, Fulvio; DE LUCA, Michele. - In: CLINICS IN DERMATOLOGY. - ISSN 0738-081X. - STAMPA. - 23:4(2005), pp. 430-436. [10.1016/j.clindermatol.2004.07.017]