BACKGROUND/AIMS Replication deficient recombinant adenoviruses represent an efficient means of transferring genes in vivo into a wide variety of dividing and quiescent cells from many different organs. Although the gastrointestinal tract is a potentially attractive target for gene therapy approaches, only a few studies on the use of viral gene transfer vehicles in the gut have been reported. The prospects of using recombinant adenoviruses for gene delivery into epithelial and subepithelial cells of the normal and inflamed colon are here analysed.
METHODS An E1/E3 deleted recombinant adenovirus (denoted AdCMVβGal) and an adenovirus with modified fibre structure (denoted AdZ.F(pk7)) both expressing the bacterial lacZ gene under the control of a human cytomegalovirus promoter were used for reporter gene expression in vitro and in vivo. β-Galactosidase activity was determined by specific chemiluminescent reporter gene assay.
RESULTS Intravenous or intraperitoneal injection of AdCMVβGal into healthy Balb/c mice caused strong reporter gene expression in the liver and spleen but not in the colon. In contrast, local administration of AdCMVβGal resulted in high reporter gene expression in colonic epithelial cells and lamina propria mononuclear cells. A local route of adenovirus administration in mice with experimental colitis induced by the hapten reagent trinitrobenzenesulphonic acid was next evaluated. Interestingly, rectal administration of AdCMVβGal caused a higher β-galactosidase activity in isolated lamina propria cells from infected mice with experimental colitis than in those from controls. Furthermore, isolated lamina propria cells from mice with colitis infected in vitro showed a significant increase in reporter gene activity compared with controls. Finally, AdZ.F(pk7) adenoviruses with modified fibre structure produced 10- to 40-fold higher reporter gene activity in spleen T cells and lamina propria mononuclear cells of colitic mice compared with standard AdCMVβGal vectors.
CONCLUSIONS Local administration of recombinant adenoviruses with normal or modified fibre structure could provide a new reliable method for targeted gene expression in the inflamed colon. Such gene delivery could be used to specifically express signal transduction proteins with therapeutic potential in inflamed colonic tissue. In particular, adenoviruses with modified fibre structure may be useful in T cell directed therapies in intestinal inflammation.
- gene transfer
- phosphate buffered saline
- plaque forming units
- trinitrobenzenesulphonic acid
- lamina propria mononuclear cell
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