Effect of clodronate on macrophage depletion and adenoviral-mediated transgene expression in salivary glands

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Expression of transgenes from adenoviral vectors is short-lived in salivary glands, in part because of immune responses to the virus and/or transgene product. Previous studies demonstrated that depletion of macrophages with multilamellar liposomes containing clodronate (Cl2MBP) increases adenoviral-mediated transgene expression in the liver. This technique was tested in salivary glands. Rats were treated with Cl2MBP-liposomes or control liposomes by femoral vein, intraperitoneal, or carotid artery injections. Thereafter, a recombinant adenovirus, AdCMVluciferase, was instilled intraductally in submandibular glands (SMGs), or delivered to the liver via femoral vein injection. Marked depletion (>94%) of liver macrophages and increased levels of luciferase activity in the liver (45-fold higher than controls) were present in animals receiving Cl2MBP-liposomes. In contrast, the same treatment never depleted more than 41% of SMG macrophages nor increased luciferase activity in SMGs, regardless of the route of administration. In conclusion, while macrophage depletion with Cl2MBP-liposomes is associated with markedly increased adenoviral-mediated transgene expression, this strategy was ineffective for salivary glands.

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