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Gene delivery to the heart in vivo and to cardiac myocytes and vascular smooth muscle cells in vitro using herpes virus vectors.
560 - 566.
Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1), while usually thought of as neurotrophic, can also efficiently infect a wide variety of non-neuronal cell types and so might be developed as a vector for gene delivery to non-neuronal as well as neuronal cells. Here we have tested three different disabled HSV vectors for their ability to deliver a lacZ gene to primary cardiac myocytes and vascular smooth muscle cells in vitro, and used the most efficient Virus to transfect the rat heart in vivo. We also assessed the degree of cytopathic effect of the various viruses on the cardiac myocytes in vitro by testing the effects on the frequency of beating in synchronously beating myocyte cultures. While an HSV mutant in which the essential immediate-early gene IE2 had been deleted gave high efficiency gene transfer to the cardiac myocytes in vitro and the rat heart in vivo, viruses in which ICP34.5 or ICP34.5 and VMW65 were inactive (and which were also unable to replicate in these cells) gave a much lower efficiency of gene transfer mirroring the degree of cytopathic effect observed in the beating myocyte cultures. Gene transfer to the vascular smooth muscle cells was considerably less efficient than to the myocytes in all cases. These results indicate that while HSV may be inappropriate for highly efficient gene transfer to the arterial wall, efficient gene transfer can be achieved in the myocardium, and thus that HSV vectors may be suitable for the alteration of cardiac cell physiology in vivo.
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