Delivering RNA interference to the mammalian brain.
Fountaine TM., Wood MJ., Wade-Martins R.
RNA interference (RNAi) is a new modality in gene therapy which can elicit down-regulation of gene expression and has enormous potential in the treatment of neurological diseases. RNAi is a conserved system through which double stranded RNA (dsRNA) guides sequence specific mRNA degradation. The RNAi apparatus may be artificially triggered by delivery of naked siRNA molecules or by plasmid-based expression of dsRNA. Before these techniques can be used as effective treatments in the brain, efficient methods of in vivo delivery must be devised. This review first describes the mechanism of RNAi, and then critically examines both viral and non-viral methods for delivery of RNAi to the mammalian brain. There have been a number of important recent publications in this field and the progress towards effective in vivo delivery of RNAi to the central nervous system is discussed. Finally, potential problems that must be considered before applying this technology to the human brain are outlined.