Herpes Simplex Virus 1-Mediated Transfer of Preproenkephalin A in Rat Dorsal Root Ganglia

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Recombinant herpes simplex virus-1 encoding the rat preproenkephalin A (HSVLatEnk1) was generated for driving the expression of preproenkephalin A-derived peptides in dorsal root ganglia of rats in vivo. Three weeks after infection via the hind footpads, quantitative RT-PCR and in situ hybridization experiments showed a strong expression of preproenkephalin A mRNA in lumbar dorsal root ganglia. In addition, a 40-160% increase in radioimmunoassayable Met-enkephalin-like material concentrations was found in the dorsal spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia, respectively, at the lumbar level in HSVLatEnk1-infected rats as compared with animals infected with β-galactosidase-encoding recombinant herpes simplex virus-1 or control rats. These data demonstrate the efficacy of the preproenkephalin A encoding vector and suggest that it should help in elucidating the role of Met-enkephalin-containing primary afferent fibers in pain transmission and/or control.

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