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Mol Ther. 2002 Jul;6(1):19-29.

Biodistribution and toxicity studies of VSVG-pseudotyped lentiviral vector after intravenous administration in mice with the observation of in vivo transduction of bone marrow.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics and Institute of Human Genetics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455, USA.


Lentiviral vectors can confer high levels of gene transfer and transgene expression in a variety of cell types. However, the biodistribution and toxicity after intravenous administration have not been reported. To address these issues of biodistribution and toxicity, an HIV-1-based vector, HR'cmvGFP, was administered to normal BALB/c mice by tail-vein injection. Nine different organs and bone marrow were evaluated by real-time quantitative PCR (QPCR) assay capable of a broad range of quantitation (5-log fold) to detect as few as one copy of the green fluorescent protein gene (GFP) per 10(5) cells. Four days after vector administration, high levels of transgene and gene expression were observed in liver, spleen, and bone marrow in all animals. By 40 days after injection, GFP levels had decreased in liver and spleen, but bone marrow exhibited a consistently high level of transgene. This finding was consistent with the increase in both GFP frequency and expression levels observed in peripheral blood by fluorescence-activated cell-sorting (FACS) analysis. Between 0 and 1% transgene was detected in all other organs. No significant pathologic lesions were found attributable to vector in any of the tissues examined. The observation of bone marrow transduction after intravenous vector administration suggests the possibility of an in vivo approach to stem cell gene therapy.

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