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Gene Ther. 2003 Jun;10(11):935-40.

Molecular basis of the inflammatory response to adenovirus vectors.

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Libin Gene Therapy Unit, Department of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.


Adenovirus vectors are extensively studied in experimental and clinical models as agents for gene therapy. Recent generations of helper-dependent adenovirus vectors have the majority of viral genes removed and result in vectors with a large carrying capacity, reduced host adaptive immune responses and improved gene transfer efficiency. Adenovirus vectors, however, activate innate immune responses shortly after administration in vivo. Unlike the adaptive response, the innate response to adenovirus vectors is transcription independent and is caused by the viral particle or capsid. This response results in inflammation of transduced tissues and substantial loss of vector genomes in the first 24 h. The adenovirus capsid activates a number of signaling pathways following cell entry including p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) that ultimately lead to expression of proinflammatory genes. Various cytokines, chemokines and leukocyte adhesion molecules are induced by the adenovirus particle in a wide range of cell types providing a molecular basis for the inflammatory properties of these vectors. An understanding of the innate response to adenovirus vectors is essential to overcome the last remaining hurdle to improve the safety and effectiveness of these agents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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