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Mol Ther. 2009 Apr;17(4):685-96. doi: 10.1038/mt.2008.297. Epub 2009 Jan 27.

Transient pretreatment with glucocorticoid ablates innate toxicity of systemically delivered adenoviral vectors without reducing efficacy.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48823, USA.


More than 300 human clinical trials utilize recombinant adenoviruses (rAds) as a gene transfer vector, confirming that rAds continue to be of high clinical interest. A primary weakness of rAds is their known propensity to trigger an innate, proinflammatory immune response rapidly after high-dose, systemic administration. In this study, we investigated what affects that pre-emptive treatment with anti-inflammatory glucocorticoids might have upon Ad vector-triggered inflammatory immune responses. We found that a simple pretreatment regimen with Dexamethasone (DEX) can significantly reduce most Ad-induced innate immune responses. DEX prevented rAd induction of systemic cytokine/chemokine releases in a dose-dependent fashion, with higher dosages preventing rAd induction of acute thrombocytopenia, endothelial cell activation, proinflammatory gene induction, and leukocyte infiltration into transduced organs. Transient glucocorticoid pretreatment also significantly reduced rAd-induced adaptive immune responses, including a decreased induction of Ad-neutralizing antibodies (NAbs). Importantly, use of DEX did not reduce the efficacy of rAd-mediated gene transduction nor rAd-derived transgene expression. Our results demonstrate that a simple, pre-emptive and transient glucocorticoid pretreatment is a viable approach to reduce rAd-associated acute toxicities that currently limit the use of Ad vectors in systemic clinical applications.

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