Objective: The transfer of recombinant genes to donor organs may allow for novel therapeutic approaches to the challenges of acute and chronic rejection. Adenoviral vectors are capable of efficient gene transfer, but use of these vectors during donor organ preservation may be less efficient due to the low temperature. This study was designed to examine the effect of temperature on the efficiency of adenovirus-mediated gene transfer. Methods: Gene transfer to human endothelial cells, porcine vascular smooth muscle cells and cultured rat thoracic aortas was examined. Incubation with an adenoviral vector encoding for E. coli beta-galactosidase was performed for 1 h at three different temperatures: 4 degrees C, 10 degrees C and 37 degrees C. Transgene expression was assessed by histochemical staining for beta-galactosidase in transduced cells and by evaluation of beta-galactosidase activity in organ cultures. Results: Both in human endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells the percentage of positively staining cells following transduction at 37 degrees C was significantly greater than at 4 degrees C and at 10 degrees C (30.55 +/- 7.26% vs. 14.29 +/- 3.79% and 12.43 +/- 2.47%, respectively for endothelial cells, P < 0.01 vs. 4 degrees C and 10 degrees C; and 28.25 +/- 4.52% vs. 17.91 +/- 3.76% and 16.63 +/- 3.92%, respectively for smooth muscle cells, P < 0.05 vs. 4 degrees C, P < 0.01 vs. 10 degrees C). beta-galactosidase activity was significantly greater in aortas transduced at 37 degrees C than in vessels transduced at 4 degrees C and 10 degrees C (289700 +/- 113300 vs. 149600 +/- 54390 and 108800 +/- 23140 relative chemiluminesce units/mg of total protein, respectively; P < 0.05 vs. 4 degrees C, P < 0.001 vs. 10 degrees C). Conclusions: The present study demonstrates that the efficiency of adenovirus-mediated gene transfer is significantly reduced at lower temperatures. The need for cold preservation of donor organs may render efficient adenovirus-mediated gene transfer more difficult in the transplantation setting. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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