Genetic manipulation of the vasculature may offer insights into the pathogenesis of coronary artery disease and may lead to gene therapy for disorders such as restenosis after percutaneous coronary angioplasty. The goal of this study was to develop a percutaneous method for gene transfer into coronary arteries of intact animals. Liposomes were used to facilitate transfection in coronary arteries with a plasmid containing the cDNA encoding luciferase. This reporter was chosen since it is not expressed in mammalian cells, and it can be quantified using a sensitive assay (light production). Mongrel dogs were catheterized, and DNA was delivered to coronary arteries via a porous perfusion balloon system. Luciferase expression was measured 3-5 days after the procedure, when the dogs were killed. Luciferase activity in control arteries (n=12) was no higher than average background activity. Eight of 12 transfected arteries exhibited gene expression, averaging 4.3±2.1 pg luciferase (p<0.01, transfected versus control arteries). In addition, the ability to transfect DNA into femoral arteries without a transfection vehicle was tested. Five dogs were subjected to surgical transfection attempts in their femoral arteries with either DNA alone or DNA plus liposomes. Luciferase was expressed in all 10 femoral arteries; those treated with DNA alone expressed 35.6±8 pg luciferase, and those treated with DNA plus liposomes expressed 42.3±14 pg luciferase (p=0.70). These results demonstrate the use of a percutaneous catheter to achieve gene transfer and expression in coronary arteries of intact dogs and suggest that the efficiency of intra-arterial gene transfer may be similar whether or not a transfection vehicle is used.
- Coronary artery
- Gene transfer
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine