Pre-clinical evaluation of liposomal gene transfer to improve dermal and epidermal regeneration.

Research paper by L K LK Branski, O E OE Masters, D N DN Herndon, R R Mittermayr, H H Redl, D L DL Traber, R A RA Cox, K K Kita, M G MG Jeschke

Indexed on: 09 Apr '10Published on: 09 Apr '10Published in: Gene Therapy


Liposomal gene transfer effectively enhances dermal and epidermal regeneration in burned rodents. To advance this treatment to clinical studies, we investigated the efficacy of liposomal gene transfer in a clinically relevant porcine wound model. Mimicking the clinical scenario, six female Yorkshire pigs (40-50 kg) received up to 12 burns of 50 cm(2) area that were fully excised and covered with skin autograft meshed at 4:1 ratio 24 h post-burn. Animals received control injections (empty liposomes), liposomes (DMRIE-C) containing 1 mg LacZ-cDNA, or liposomes (DMRIE-C) with 1 mg of platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-cDNA, or the naked PDGF gene. Serial biopsies were taken from different wound sites at multiple time points up to 12 days post-wounding. Transfection efficacy and transfection rate of LacZ and localization of beta-gal were determined by immunohistochemical and immunofluorescent techniques. RT-PCR and multiplex protein analysis (ELISA) were used to measure levels of growth factor mRNA transcribed and growth factor protein translated. Wound re-epithelialization and graft adhesion was evaluated using planimetric analysis and clinical scores. We found that peak transfection of liposomal beta-galactosidase occurred on day 2, with a fluorescence increase of 154% to baseline (P<0.001). Transfection intensity dropped to 115% above baseline on day 4 (P<0.001) and 109% on day 7. Immunohistochemistry showed a maximum transfection rate of 34% of cells in wound tissue. Gene transfer of liposomal PDGF-cDNA resulted in increased PDGF-mRNA and protein expression on days 2 and 4, and accelerated wound re-epithlialization as well as graft adhesion on day 9 (P<0.05). In this study, we showed that liposomal cDNA gene transfer is possible in a porcine wound model, and by using PDGF-cDNA we further showed that dermal and epidermal regeneration can be improved. These data indicate that liposomal gene transfer can be a new therapeutic approach to improve wound healing in humans.