Adeno-Associated Virus-Mediated Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Gene Therapy in Skeletal Muscle before Transplantation Promotes Revascularization of Regenerating Muscle

Gayle Smythe, May C Lai, Miranda D Grounds, Piroska E Rakoczy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Successful clinical transplantation of whole skeletal muscles can be limited by impaired muscle revascularization and regeneration. The aim of this study was to enhance the revascularization (and hence speed of regeneration) of transplanted whole muscles by transducing muscles with the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) gene before transplantation, using a recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV). The rAAV encoding VEGF and green fluorescent protein (GFP) (rAAV.VEGF.GFP) was injected into the tibialis anterior muscles of adult BALB/c mice. One month after injection whole muscle autotransplantation was performed. Muscles were sampled 7 days after autografting. GFP expression was examined as an indicator of persistent transgene expression after grafting, and immunohistochemistry was used to identify VEGF, blood vessels, and newly formed myotubes. After grafting, GFP expression persisted only in a few surviving myofibers in the periphery of rAAV.VEGF.GFP-pretreated muscles, although abundant VEGF expression was seen in myogenic cells in all grafted muscles. Quantitative analysis demonstrated that, although only small numbers of rAAV.VEGF.GFP-transduced myofibers were present, whole muscle grafts preinjected with rAAV.VEGF.GFP were significantly more vascular than saline-injected and uninjected control muscle grafts. Furthermore, rAAV.VEGF.GFP-injected whole muscle transplants were further advanced in terms of regeneration (myotube formation) compared with the uninjected control muscle transplants. This study clearly shows that rAAV-mediated VEGF expression persists only in myofibers that survive the necrosis induced by muscle transplantation; however, this amount of VEGF results in significantly increased revascularization and regeneration of whole muscle transplants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)879-891
Number of pages13
JournalTissue Engineering
Volume8
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2002

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