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1.  Genetic heterogeneity in response to adenovirus gene therapy 
After intravenous delivery of the adenoviral vector into rats or mice, 95–99% of the encoded protein is produced in the hepatocytes. We observed, as have others, that the early expression levels of the vector encoded protein vary, greatly, within a species, from one animal strain to another. This study was initiated to determine the molecular mechanism causing the difference: hepatic transfection, transcription or translation. For this purpose different doses of Ad5 luciferase and Ad5 LacZ were intravenously injected into Brown Norway rats and Wag/Rij rats, two strains that differ by a factor of 10 in encoded protein levels. The proportion of LacZ positive hepatocytes, the adenoviral DNA, specific transgenic RNA and luciferase protein were compared in the two strains.
The number of transduced hepatocytes and the amounts of Ad5 DNA in the livers was similar in both strains, whereas the Brown Norway rats produced 8 to 10 times more of both vector encoded proteins and of transgene mRNA than the Wag/Rij rats.
It is concluded that the difference between strains in vector encoded protein expression is due to different transcriptional events. No evidence was obtained to suggest that the differences are related to liver damage influenced by vector toxicity or immune reactions.
PMCID: PMC155537  PMID: 12697054
2.  A comparison of efficacy and toxicity between electroporation and adenoviral gene transfer 
Electroporation of skeletal muscle after injection of naked DNA was shown by others to increase transgene expression. Information regarding tissue damage caused by electroporation is conflicting. It is also not well known how plasmid electroporation compares with transfection by adenoviral vectors. To investigate these questions the most used protocol for muscle electroporation was used, i.e. 8 pulses of 200 V/cm and 20 ms at a frequency of 1 Hz.
Intra-muscular DNA transfer of pLuciferase was increased by 2 logs after electroporation, confirming data described by others. However, the blood levels of the encoded protein were still lower than those obtained after injection of first generation adenoviral vectors. Also, the electroporation procedure, on its own, caused severe muscle damage consisting of rhabdomyolysis and infiltration, whereas the adenoviral vectors caused only a slight infiltration. As damage of targeted tissue may be an advantage in the case of tumour transfection, we also compared the two transfection methods in tumour tissue. In case of poorly permissive tumours, adenoviral vectors cannot transfect more than 2% of the tumour tissue without inducing significant liver damage. In contrast, the electroporation seems to offer a wider therapeutic window since it does not cause any systemic toxicity and still induce's significant transfection.
Plasmid electroporation of the muscle induce severe local damage and is of no advantage over adenoviral vectors for obtaining high blood levels of a vector encoded protein. In contrast, electroporation of tumours might be safer than adenoviral gene transfer.
PMCID: PMC122059  PMID: 12175426

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