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      Effects of Erythropoietin-Gene Electrotransfer in Rats with Adenine-Induced Renal Failure

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          Background: We previously demonstrated that erythropoietin (Epo) expression increases in five-sixths nephrectomized rats, after muscle-targeted gene transfer by in vivo electroporation, using plasmid DNA expressing rat Epo (pCAGGS-Epo). Here, we apply this method to a rat model with severe anemia associated with chronic renal failure; these rats have hematocrit levels in the 30–35% range, similar to those in humans with end-stage renal disease. Methods: Wistar rats were treated to produce adenine-induced uremia. The uremic rats were then treated with muscle-targeted gene transfer using pCAGGS-Epo. Some uremic rats died from chronic renal failure; one of these was dissected, and the kidneys were histologically examined. For the remaining rats, we measured body weight and blood pressure, and obtained blood samples regularly. Results: The uremic rats showed severe anemia, with hematocrit levels at 32.6 ± 3.3%. Epo-gene transfer increased Epo expression and serum Epo levels, and also increased the hematocrit levels to 64.5 ± 4.8%. The dose of pCAGGS-Epo used in this study did not induce severe hypertension. Conclusions: Continuous Epo-gene expression improves the anemia associated with chronic renal failure, and without severe side effects. Our results support the potential use of gene electrotransfer for human gene therapy applications.

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          Most cited references 8

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          Efficient selection for high-expression transfectants with a novel eukaryotic vector

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            Gene transfer into muscle by electroporation in vivo.

             J. Miyazaki,  H Aihara (1998)
            Among the nonviral techniques for gene transfer in vivo, the direct injection of plasmid DNA into muscle is simple, inexpensive, and safe. Applications of this method have been limited by the relatively low expression levels of the transferred gene. We investigated the applicability of in vivo electroporation for gene transfer into muscle, using plasmid DNA expressing interleukin-5 (IL-5) as the vector. The tibialis anterior muscles of mice were injected with the plasmid DNA, and then a pair of electrode needles were inserted into the DNA injection site to deliver electric pulses. Five days later, the serum IL-5 levels were assayed. Mice that did not receive electroporation had serum levels of 0.2 ng/ml. Electroporation enhanced the levels to over 20 ng/ml. Histochemical analysis of muscles injected with a lacZ expression plasmid showed that in vivo electroporation increased both the number of muscle fibers taking up plasmid DNA and the copy number of plasmids introduced into the cells. These results demonstrate that gene transfer into muscle by electroporation in vivo is more efficient than simple intramuscular DNA injection.
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              Long-term expression of erythropoietin in the systemic circulation of mice after intramuscular injection of a plasmid DNA vector.

              Erythropoietin (Epo)-responsive anemia is a common and debilitating complication of chronic renal failure and human immunodeficiency virus infection. Current therapy for this condition involves repeated intravenous or subcutaneous injections of recombinant Epo. In this report, we describe the development of a novel muscle-based gene transfer approach that produces long-term expression of physiologically significant levels of Epo in the systemic circulation of mice. We have constructed a plasmid expression vector, pVRmEpo, that contains the murine Epo cDNA under the transcriptional control of the cytomegalovirus immediate early (CMV-IE) promoter, the CMV-IE 5' untranslated region, and intron A. A single intramuscular (i.m.) injection of as little as 10 micrograms of this plasmid into immunocompetent adult mice produced physiologically significant elevations in serum Epo levels and increased hematocrits from preinjection levels of 48 +/- 0.4% to levels of 64 +/- 3.3% 45 days after injection. Hematocrits in these animals remained elevated at greater than 60% for at least 90 days after a single i.m. injection of 10 micrograms of pVRmEpo. We observed a dose-response relationship between the amount of plasmid DNA injected and subsequent elevations in hematocrits. Mice injected once with 300 micrograms of pVRmEpo displayed 5-fold increased serum Epo levels and elevated hematocrits of 79 +/- 3.3% at 45 days after injection. The i.m. injected plasmid DNA remained localized to the site of injection as assayed by the PCR. We conclude that i.m. injection of plasmid DNA represents a viable nonviral gene transfer method for the treatment of acquired and inherited serum protein deficiencies.

                Author and article information

                Am J Nephrol
                American Journal of Nephrology
                S. Karger AG
                October 2003
                08 September 2003
                : 23
                : 5
                : 315-323
                aDivision of Clinical Nephrology and Rheumatology, Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Niigata; bProduct Planning and Business Development, Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd, Tokyo, and cDivision of Stem Cell Regulation Research, G6, Osaka University Medical School, Osaka, Japan
                72913 Am J Nephrol 2003;23:315–323
                © 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 7, References: 24, Pages: 9
                Self URI (application/pdf): https://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/72913
                Original Article: Laboratory Investigation


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