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Antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) have emerged as one of the most innovative new genetic drug modalities. However, their high molecular weight limits their bioavailability for otherwise treatable neurological disorders. We investigated conjugation of ASOs to an antibody against the murine transferrin receptor (TfR), 8D3130, and evaluated it via systemic administration in mouse models of the neurodegenerative disease, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). SMA, like several other neurological and neuromuscular diseases, is treatable with single-stranded ASOs that modulate splicing of the survival motor neuron 2 (SMN2) gene. Administration of 8D3130-ASO conjugate resulted in elevated levels of bioavailability to the brain. Additionally, 8D3130-ASO yielded therapeutic levels of SMN2 splicing in the central nervous system of adult hSMN2 transgenic mice which resulted in extended survival of a severely affected SMA mouse model. Systemic delivery of nucleic acid therapies with brain targeting antibodies offers powerful translational potential for future treatments of neuromuscular and neurodegenerative diseases.

Original publication




Journal article


JCI Insight

Publication Date



Gene therapy, Molecular biology, Neuromuscular disease, Neuroscience