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Gene Ther. 1999 Jun;6(6):994-1005.

Liposome-mediated NGF gene transfection following neuronal injury: potential therapeutic applications.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


We have systematically investigated the therapeutic potential of cationic liposome-mediated neurotrophic gene transfer for treatment of CNS injury. Following determination of optimal transfection conditions, we examined the effects of dimethylaminoethane-carbamoyl-cholesterol (DC-Chol) liposome-mediated NGF cDNA transfection in injured and uninjured primary septo-hippocampal cell cultures and rat brains. In in vitro studies, we detected an increase of NGF mRNA in cultures 1 day after transfection. Subsequent ELISA and PC12 cell biological assays confirmed that cultured cells secreted soluble active NGF into the media from day 2 after gene transfection. Further experiments showed that such NGF gene transfection reduced the loss of chol- ine acetyltransferase (ChAT) activity in cultures following calcium-dependent depolarization injury. In in vivo studies, following intraventricular injections of NGF cDNA complexed with DC-Chol liposomes, ELISA detected nine- to 12-fold increases of NGF in rat CSF. Further studies showed that liposome/NGF cDNA complexes could attenuate the loss of cholinergic neuronal immunostaining in the rat septum after traumatic brain injury (TBI). Since deficits in cholinergic neurotransmission are a major consequence of TBI, our studies demonstrate for the first time that DC-Chol liposome-mediated NGF gene transfection may have therapeutic potential for treatment of brain injury.

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