Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Ther. 2007 Jun;15(6):1114-20. Epub 2007 Apr 17.

Transgene persistence and cell turnover in the diarthrodial joint: implications for gene therapy of chronic joint diseases.

Author information

Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32610, USA.


Local gene therapy for chronic joint diseases requires prolonged transgenic expression, but this has not been reliably achieved in animal models. Using normal and immunocompromised animals, we examined the capacity of various cell types in joint tissues to maintain and express exogenous transgenes after direct intra-articular gene delivery. We found that transgenic expression could persist for the lifetime of the animal but required precise immunological compatibility between the vector, transgene product, and host. It was not dependent on vector integration or promoter origin. We identified two phenotypically distinct sub-populations of genetically modified cells within the joint: (i) transient cells, with a half-life of a few weeks, and (ii) stable cells that reside in the joint tissues indefinitely. Contrary to the prevailing assumption, the transient sub-population was composed almost exclusively of synovial fibroblasts, indicating that the synovium is not an appropriate tissue upon which to base a long-term therapy. Instead, fibroblasts in the ligaments, tendons, and capsule emerged as the primary cell types capable of sustained therapeutic transgene expression. This study sheds new light on the cellular dynamics of articular tissues and suggests that cell turnover and immune reactivity are the key determinants in achieving sustained transgenic expression intra-articularly.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center