We investigated expression profiles and biological effects of the naked DNA vectors in the heart. To this end, naked DNA vector was injected into the apex of the beating rat heart after thorocotomy. When the expression of LacZ reporter was examined by reverse transcription-PCR and histochemical staining for β-galactosidase, LacZ expression was detected only in the heart, suggesting limited dissemination of the injected vector in vivo. Even within the heart, LacZ expression was limited to the injection area (apex). Similar observations were made with other transgenes such as VEGF and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), where 77% and 69% of the total transgene exprssion were detected in the heart segments containing the apex. Although VEGF and bFGF expressions were detected until 2 weeks after DNA injection, the highest levels of VEGF and bFGF were observed on day 5 and day 1, respectively. The optimal doses of the vectors were 10 μg and 25 μg for the VEGF and bFGF vectors, respectively. Interestingly, injection of bFGF vector led to 50% increase in the level of endogenous murine VEGF expression. Consistent with this finding, the number of vessels that stained positive for α-smooth muscle actin was increased in the bFGF vector-injected heart. These results suggest that simple injection of naked DNA vector may be sufficient to induce significant angiogenesis in the myocardium and that naked DNA gene therapy may be a feasible approach for the treatment of ischemic heart disease.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Biochemistry