Gene Therapy for Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia by Inhibition of Ca2+/Calmodulin-Dependent Kinase II

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


External Institution(s)

  • Harvard University


Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-419
Number of pages15
Issue number5
StatusPublished - Jul 30 2019


Background: Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT), an inherited cardiac arrhythmia characterized by adrenergically triggered arrhythmias, is inadequately treated by current standard of care. Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII), an adrenergically activated kinase that contributes to arrhythmogenesis in heart disease models, is a candidate therapeutic target in CPVT. However, translation of CaMKII inhibition has been limited by the need for selective CaMKII inhibition in cardiomyocytes. Here, we tested the hypothesis that CaMKII inhibition with a cardiomyocyte-targeted gene therapy strategy would suppress arrhythmia in CPVT mouse models. Methods: We developed AAV9-GFP-AIP, an adeno-associated viral vector in which a potent CaMKII inhibitory peptide, autocamtide-2-related inhibitory peptide [AIP], is fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP) and expressed from a cardiomyocyte selective promoter. The vector was delivered systemically. Arrhythmia burden was evaluated with invasive electrophysiology testing in adult mice. AIP was also tested on induced pluripotent stem cells derived from patients with CPVT with different disease-causing mutations to determine the effectiveness of our proposed therapy on human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes and different pathogenic genotypes. Results: AAV9-GFP-AIP was robustly expressed in the heart without significant expression in extracardiac tissues, including the brain. Administration of AAV9-GFP-AIP to neonatal mice with a known CPVT mutation (RYR2R176Q/+) effectively suppressed ventricular arrhythmias induced by either β-adrenergic stimulation or programmed ventricular pacing, without significant proarrhythmic effect. Intravascular delivery of AAV9-GFP-AIP to adolescent mice transduced ≈50% of cardiomyocytes and was effective in suppressing arrhythmia in CPVT mice. Induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes derived from 2 different patients with CPVT with different pathogenic mutations demonstrated increased frequency of abnormal calcium release events, which was suppressed by a cell-permeable form of AIP. Conclusions: This proof-of-concept study showed that AAV-mediated delivery of a CaMKII peptide inhibitor to the heart was effective in suppressing arrhythmias in a murine model of CPVT. CaMKII inhibition also reversed the arrhythmia phenotype in human CPVT induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte models with different pathogenic mutations.

    Research areas

  • arrhythmias, cardiac, calcium-calmodulin-dependent protein kinase type 2, death, sudden, gene therapy, polymorphic catecholergic ventricular tachycardia