Local Vascular Gene Therapy With Apolipoprotein A-I to Promote Regression of Atherosclerosis

    loading  Checking for direct PDF access through Ovid



Gene therapy, delivered directly to the blood vessel wall, could potentially prevent atherosclerotic lesion growth and promote atherosclerosis regression. Previously, we reported that a helper-dependent adenoviral (HDAd) vector expressing apolipoprotein A-I (apoA-I) in carotid endothelium of fat-fed rabbits reduced early (4 weeks) atherosclerotic lesion growth. Here, we tested whether the same HDAd—delivered to the existing carotid atherosclerotic lesions—could promote regression.

Approach and Results—

Rabbits (n=26) were fed a high-fat diet for 7 months, then treated with bilateral carotid gene transfer. One carotid was infused with an HDAd expressing apoA-I (HDAdApoAI) and the other with a control nonexpressing HDAd (HDAdNull). The side with HDAdApoAI was randomized. Rabbits were then switched to regular chow, lowering their plasma cholesterols by over 70%. ApoA-I mRNA and protein were detected in HDAdApoAI-transduced arteries. After 7 weeks of gene therapy, compared with HDAdNull-treated arteries in the same rabbits, HDAdApoAI-treated arteries had significantly less vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 expression (28%; P=0.04) along with modest but statistically insignificant trends toward decreased intimal lesion volume, lipid and macrophage content, and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 expression (9%–21%; P=0.1–0.4). Post hoc subgroup analysis of rabbits with small-to-moderate–sized lesions (n=20) showed that HDAdApoAI caused large reductions in lesion volume, lipid content, intercellular adhesion molecule-1, and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 expression (30%–50%; P≤0.04 for all). Macrophage content was reduced by 30% (P=0.06). There was a significant interaction (P=0.02) between lesion size and treatment efficacy.


Even when administered on a background of aggressive lowering of plasma cholesterol, local HDAdApoAI vascular gene therapy may promote rapid regression of small-to-moderate–sized atherosclerotic lesions.

Related Topics

    loading  Loading Related Articles