Percutaneous transluminal in vivo gene transfer by recombinant adenovirus in normal porcine coronary arteries, atherosclerotic arteries, and two models of coronary restenosis.
BACKGROUND Gene therapy has been proposed as a possible solution to the problem of restenosis after coronary angioplasty. The current study was undertaken to assess conventional methods of gene transfer and to develop percutaneous techniques for introducing genes directly into the coronary arteries of large mammals. Since the anticipated targets of gene therapy against restenosis include atherosclerotic and previously instrumented arteries, we also evaluated gene transfer in atherosclerotic coronary arteries and in two porcine models of restenosis: one using intracoronary stents and a second using balloon overstretch angioplasty.
METHODS AND RESULTS The conventional method of using perforated balloon catheters to deliver Lipofectin-DNA complexes directly into the coronary arteries of intact animals was applied to 18 porcine coronary arteries including normal arteries, hypercholesterolemic arteries, and those simulating restenosis. The results of this study were consistent with previously published results indicating that only low levels of luciferase gene expression could be obtained by Lipofectin-mediated gene transfer. We therefore undertook a second, parallel study to evaluate percutaneous transluminal in vivo gene transfer using a replication-deficient adenoviral vector. A comparison of the two studies revealed that the mean level of reporter gene expression in the cohort undergoing adenoviral infection was 100-fold higher than in the cohort undergoing Lipofection. Analysis of luciferase activity over time in normal arteries revealed that recombinant gene expression was half-maximal after 1 day, peaked within 1 week, was still half-maximal at 2 weeks, and declined to low levels by 4 weeks. Histochemical analysis of coronary arteries treated with a second adenovirus expressing a nuclear-localized beta-galactosidase gene demonstrated gene transfer to a limited number of cells in the media and adventitia. Immunohistochemical analysis of Ad5-infused arteries using a monoclonal antibody directed against CD44 identified a periadventitial infiltrate composed of leukocytes.
CONCLUSIONS The recombinant adenoviral vectors proved to be far more effective than Lipofectin at delivering foreign genes directly into the coronary arteries of living mammals. Furthermore, the influences of hypercholesterolemia and arterial injury appeared to have little effect on the levels of gene expression obtained using either method. The results demonstrate that low-level recombinant gene expression, the major obstacle impeding gene therapy for the prevention of restenosis, can potentially be overcome by using adenoviral vectors to mediate coronary gene transfer in vivo. The duration of gene expression provided by these vectors and their effective deployment in atherosclerotic, balloon-overstretched, and stented coronary arteries suggest that recombinant adenovirus may have potential for evaluating gene therapy in the clinically informative porcine models of coronary restenosis.
- Copyright © 1994 by American Heart Association