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Gene Ther. 2001 Oct;8(19):1508-13.

Highly efficient gene transfer into murine liver achieved by intravenous administration of naked Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-based plasmid vectors.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, Research Institute for Neurological Disease and Geriatrics, Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine, Kyoto, Japan.


Naked plasmid DNA (pDNA) injection could become an alternative procedure to viral and nonviral gene delivery systems. We have previously shown that Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-based plasmid vectors containing the EBV nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) gene and the oriP sequence enable quite high and long-lasting expression in various in vitro and in vivo transfection systems. The EBV-based plasmids were intravenously injected into mice via their tail vein under high pressure. A large amount of the marker gene product was expressed in the liver; as much as 320 microg of luciferase was demonstrated per gram of liver at 8 to 24 h after a single injection with 10 microg of DNA. More than 70% of liver cells stained with X-gal when beta-gal gene was transferred. The expression level was significantly higher than that obtained by conventional pDNA lacking the EBNA1 gene and oriP. On day 35 after the transfection, the expression from the EBV-based plasmid was approximately 100-fold stronger than the conventional pDNA gene expression. Both the EBNA1 gene and oriP are a prerequisite for the augmentation of the transfection efficiency. These results suggest that the intravascular transfection with naked EBV-based plasmid may provide a quite efficient, simple and convenient means to transduce therapeutic genes in vivo into the liver.

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