Gene transfer to human rheumatoid synovial tissue engrafted in SCID mice

Jorgensen, C.; Demoly, P.; Noel, D.; Mathieu, M.; Piechaczyc, M.; Gougat, C.; Bousquet, J.; Sany, J.

Journal of Rheumatology

1997-11 / vol 24 / pages 2076-2079


Objective, To assess the feasibility of gene therapy in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and determine the appropriate vector. Methods. Human rheumatoid synovial tissue from 6 patients with RA was transduced ex vivo with a recombinant retroviral vector (pMFG.nlsLacZ) containing the Escherichia coil beta-galactosidase (beta-gal) gene in a coculture assay in the presence of 20 ng/ml tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) for promoting cell division. We also conducted in vitro infection experiments using an adenoviral vector (AdCMVSp1.LacZ) containing the beta-gal gene. After gene transduction, the synovial tissue was engrafted subcutaneously in 8-week-old severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) CB17 mice. beta-gal expression was then monitored as a function of lime (up to 21 days) and of virus dose [up to 50 colony forming units (cfu)/cell]. The efficacy of direct in vivo gene transfer was also tested by injection of 10(6) cfu of pMFG.nlsLacZ into rheumatoid synovial tissue engrafted in SCID mice. Results, When recombinant retroviral vector was used, 30 +/- 5% of ex vivo infected synovial cells were positive for staining. In synovial tissue implanted in SCID mice, beta-gal expression declined to 5% after one week, but persisted for at least 21 days. Direct injection of pMFG.nlsLacZ vector into the rheumatoid synovial tissue implanted in SCID mice allowed efficient and stable in vivo infection of the synovial tissue. Ex vivo gene transfer with adenoviral vector resulted in a 98% infection rare of the synovial lining cells. However, beta-gal activity declined 7 days after subcutaneous implantation. Conclusion. Highly efficient gene transfer in rheumatoid synovial tissue is achievable with both adenoviral and retroviral vectors, but the results were transient. Exogenous gene transfer through retroviral vectors required stimulation with TNF-alpha for synovial cell division and proviral integration. Direct in vivo gene transfer with recombinant retrovirus was shown to be efficient. Transduction of human synovial tissue engrafted in SCID mice is a potent tool for developing preclinical models of gene therapy in RA.



expression; in-vivo; cells; delivery; therapy; adenovirus; gene transfer; arthritis; interleukin-1; migration; prospects; retrovirus; rheumatoid arthritis; scid mice; suppression

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