Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) plays important roles in improvement of cardiac function following myocardial infarction (MI). However, the lack of a steerable delivery system of VEGF targeting the infarcted myocardium reduces the therapeutic efficacy and safety. Here, we constructed a series of lentiviral vector systems which could express a fusion protein consisted of a collagen-binding domain (CBD) and hVEGF (CBDhVEGF), under the control of 5HRE-hCMVmp (5HRE), the hypoxia-inducible promoter consists of five copies of the hypoxia-responsive element (HRE) and a human cytomegalovirus minimal promoter (hCMVmp). We demonstrated that 5HRE has the comparable ability to strongly drive CBDhVEGF under hypoxic condition as the ubiquitous CMV promoter, but it can hardly drive target gene under normoxic condition. 5HRE-drived CBDhVEGF specifically bound to type I collagen and significantly promoted the viability of HUVEC cells. Moreover, after injection of lentivirus into heart of mouse with MI, CBDhVEGF was mainly retained in infarcted myocardium where containing rich collagen and significantly improved angiogenesis and cardiac function when compared with hVEGF. Moreover, CBDhVEGF mediated by lentivirus has little leakage from infarcted zone into blood than hVEGF. Taken together, our results indicate that 5HRE-CBDhVEGF lentiviral vector system could improve cardiac function in the collagen-Targeting and hypoxia-inducible manners.
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