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Dev Neurosci. 2001;23(2):145-52.

Survival effects of pigment epithelium-derived factor expressed by a lentiviral vector in rat cerebellar granule cells.

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Neurotrophic Factors Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, NIH, Bethesda, Md. 20892-4126, USA.


We have previously shown that pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF) acts as a survival factor for cerebellar granule cells (CGCs), by blocking apoptotic death, and can also protect these cells against glutamate-induced neurotoxicity. In preparation for gene therapy studies, pseudotyped HIV-1-based lentiviral vectors containing the PEDF gene, as well as either green fluorescent protein or beta-galactosidase, were prepared. These bicistronic vectors are unique in that they express two genes efficiently under one promoter. Primary cell cultures of CGCs from postnatal day 8 rats were infected with the vectors encoding PEDF. RT-PCR demonstrated expression of mRNA and Western blot analysis confirmed that infected CGCs secrete PEDF protein to the medium. Assays for cell survival demonstrated that PEDF-infected cells were significantly more protected compared with mock-infected controls for 6-8 days in culture, as well as against induced apoptosis. The PEDF vectors expressing tat (trans-acting transcription factor) provided more protection than the tat(-) vectors. These results demonstrate that while the lentiviral vectors expressing PEDF are as neuroprotective as the protein itself for CGCs, the vectors have the advantage of providing long-lasting expression of PEDF protein, which will be more effective in in vivo studies. The present results suggest that this system may be useful for gene therapy for neurodegenerative disorders.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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