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Uteroplacental adenovirus VEGF gene therapy increases fetal growth velocity in growth-restricted sheep pregnancies.

Carr, D; Wallace, JM; Aitken, RP; Milne, JS; Mehta, V; Martin, JF; Zachary, IC; ... David, AL; + view all (2014) Uteroplacental adenovirus VEGF gene therapy increases fetal growth velocity in growth-restricted sheep pregnancies. Hum Gene Ther , 25 (4) pp. 375-384. 10.1089/hum.2013.214. Green open access

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Abstract

Introduction: Fetal growth restriction (FGR) occurs in ~8% of pregnancies and is a major cause of perinatal mortality and morbidity. There is no effective treatment. FGR is characterised by reduced uterine blood flow (UBF). In normal sheep pregnancies, local uterine artery (UtA) adenovirus (Ad) mediated over-expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) increases UBF. Herein we evaluated Ad.VEGF therapy in the overnourished adolescent ewe, an experimental paradigm in which reduced UBF from mid-gestation correlates with reduced lamb birthweight near term. Materials and Methods: Singleton pregnancies were established using embryo transfer in adolescent ewes subsequently offered a high-intake (n=45) or control-intake (n=12) of a complete diet to generate FGR or normal fetoplacental growth, respectively. High-intake ewes were randomised mid-gestation to receive bilateral UtA injections of 5x1011 particles Ad.VEGF-A165 (n=18), control vector Ad.LacZ (n=14) or control saline (n=13). Fetal growth/wellbeing were evaluated using serial ultrasound. UBF was monitored using indwelling flowprobes until necropsy at 0.9 gestation. Vasorelaxation, neovascularisation within the perivascular adventitia and placental mRNA expression of angiogenic factors/receptors were examined using organ bath analysis, anti-vWF immunohistochemistry and qRT-PCR, respectively. Results: Ad.VEGF significantly increased ultrasonographic fetal growth velocity at 3-4 weeks post-injection (p=0.016-0.047). At 0.9 gestation fewer fetuses were markedly growth-restricted (birthweight >2SD below contemporaneous control-intake mean) following Ad.VEGF therapy. There was also evidence of mitigated fetal brain sparing (lower biparietal diameter to abdominal circumference and brain to liver weight ratios). No effects were observed on UBF or neovascularisation, however Ad.VEGF-transduced vessels demonstrated strikingly enhanced vasorelaxation. Placental efficiency (fetal to placental weight ratio) and FLT1/KDR mRNA expression was increased in the maternal but not fetal placental compartments, suggesting downstream effects on placental function. Conclusion: Ad.VEGF gene therapy improves fetal growth in a sheep model of FGR, although the precise mechanism of action remains unclear.

Type: Article
Title: Uteroplacental adenovirus VEGF gene therapy increases fetal growth velocity in growth-restricted sheep pregnancies.
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1089/hum.2013.214
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/hum.2013.214
Additional information: © 2014 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. You are free to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt this work, but you must attribute this work as ‘‘Human Gene Therapy. Copyright 2014 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. http://liebertpub.com/hum, used under a Creative Commons Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/’’
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Medicine > Experimental and Translational Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health > Maternal and Fetal Medicine
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1422692
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