Vectors containing group B adenovirus (Ad) fibers are able to efficiently transduce gene therapy targets that are refractory to infection with standard Ad serotype 5 (Ad5) vectors, including malignant tumor cells, hematopoietic stem cells, and dendritic cells. Preliminary studies in mice indicate that, after intravenous injection, B-group fiber-containing Ads do not efficiently transduce most organs and cause less acute toxicity than Ad5 vectors. However, biodistribution and safety studies in mice are of limited value because the mouse analog of the B-group Ad receptor, CD46, is expressed only in the testis, whereas in humans, CD46 is expressed on all nucleated cells. Unlike mice, baboons have CD46 expression patterns and levels that closely mimic those in humans. We conducted a biodistribution and toxicity study of group B Ad fiber-containing vectors in baboons. Animals received phosphate-buffered saline, Ad5-bGal (a first-generation Ad5 vector), or B-group fiber-containing Ads (Ad5/35-bGal and Ad5/11-bGal) at a dose of 2 × 1012 VP/kg, and vector biodistribution and safety was analyzed over 3 days. The amount of Ad5/35-bGal and Ad5/11-bGal vector genomes was in most tissues one to three orders of magnitude below that of Ad5. Significant Ad5/35- and Ad5/11-mediated transgene (β-galactosidase) expression was seen only in the marginal zone of splenic follicles. Compared with the animal that received Ad5-bGal, all animals injected with B-group fiber-containing Ad vectors had lower elevations in serum proinflammatory cytokine levels. Gross and histopathology were normal in animals that received B-group Ad fiber-containing Ads, in contrast to the Ad5-infused animal, which showed widespread endothelial damage and inflammation. In a further study, a chimeric Ad5/35 vector carrying proapoptotic TRAIL and Ad E1A genes under tumor-specific regulation was well tolerated in a 30-day toxicity study. No major clinical, serologic, or pathologic abnormalities were noticed in this animal.
B-group Ad fiber-containing vectors are promising tools for gene therapy, for example, for the treatment of metastatic cancer or cardiovascular diseases, or for vaccination/immunotherapy. However, only a few studies of vectors containing B-group Ad fibers in mice have been conducted so far, and little is known about the mechanisms and effects of B-group Ad vector delivery in vivo. Before these vectors can be considered for clinical application, this knowledge gap must be filled. We performed biodistribution and safety studies after intravenous injection of chimeric Ad5 vectors containing Ad35 and Ad11 fibers into baboons. Our study suggests that Ad vectors possessing B-group Ad fibers have a better safety profile after intravenous injection than do conventional Ad5-based vectors.