Cytokine gene therapy for myocarditis by in vivo electroporation

A. Nakano, A. Matsumori, S. Kawamoto, H. Tahara, E. Yamato, S. Sasayama, J. I. Miyazaki

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58 Citations (Scopus)


Cytokines are important pathophysiologic and pathogenic factors in cardiovascular disorders, including viral myocarditis. We attempted to treat viral myocarditis with cytokine gene therapy by transferring an inhibitory cytokine, IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) or viral IL-10 (vIL-10), by in vivo electroporation, a new method for gene transfer into muscle. Four-week-old male DBA/2 mice were inoculated intraperitoneally with 10 PFU of encephalomyocarditis virus. Immediately after virus inoculation, an expression plasmid carrying IL-1ra or vIL-10 was injected into tibialis anterior muscles followed by electroporation. Serum levels of IL-1ra and vIL-10 reached 10.5 and 2.3 ng/ml, respectively, on day 5, when gene expression reached its peak. Histopathological examination showed that myocardial cellular infiltration was improved in mice treated with IL-1ra or vIL-10 compared with the control group. On day 14 after the onset of myocarditis, transfer of IL-1ra or vIL-10 expression plasmid had significantly improved the survival rates of the animals. The expression of TNF-α was decreased to 0.60-fold (p < 0.005) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) 0.43-fold (p < 0.005) by IL-1ra treatment, and the expression of IFN-γ in the heart was decreased to 0.35-fold (p < 0.05), and iNOS 0.21-fold (p < 0.005), by vIL-10 relative to the controls. These results show that gene therapy with IL-1ra or vIL-10 expression plasmid was effective in the treatment of viral myocarditis, and in vivo electroporation may be a useful method by which to deliver cytokine therapy in cardiovascular diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1289-1297
Number of pages9
JournalHuman Gene Therapy
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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