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Hum Gene Ther. 2014 Jun;25(6):498-505. doi: 10.1089/hum.2013.187. Epub 2014 Mar 26.

Attenuation of monocrotaline-induced pulmonary hypertension by luminal adeno-associated virus serotype 9 gene transfer of prostacyclin synthase.

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1 Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care, Department of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences , Little Rock, AR 72205.


Idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (iPAH) is associated with high morbidity and mortality. We evaluated whether luminal delivery of the human prostacyclin synthase (hPGIS) cDNA with adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors could attenuate PAH. AAV serotype 5 (AAV5) and AAV9 vectors containing the hPGIS cDNA under the control of a cytomegalovirus-enhanced chicken β-actin (CB) promoter or vehicle (saline) were instilled into lungs of rats. Two days later, rats were injected with monocrotaline (MCT, 60 mg/kg) or saline. Biochemical, hemodynamic, and morphologic assessments were performed when the rats developed symptoms (3-4 weeks) or at 6 weeks. Luminal (airway) administration of AAV5 and AAV9CBhPGIS vectors (MCT-AAV5 and MCT-AAV9 rats) significantly increased plasma levels of 6-keto-PGF1(α) as compared with MCT-controls, and closely resembled levels measured in rats not treated with MCT (saline-saline). Right ventricular (RV)/left ventricular (LV)+septum (S) ratios and RV systolic pressure (RVSP) were greater in MCT-control rats than in saline-saline rats, whereas the ratios and RVSP in MCT-AAV5CBhPGIS and MCT-AAV9CBhPGIS rats were similar to saline-saline rats. Thickening of the muscular media of small pulmonary arteries of MCT-control rats was detected in histological sections, whereas the thickness of the muscular media in MCT-AAV5CBhPGIS and MCT-AAV9CBhPGIS rats was similar to saline-saline controls. In experiments with different promoters, a trend toward increased levels of PGF1(α) expression was detected in lung homogenates, but not plasma, of MCT-treated rats transduced with an AAV9-hPGIS vector containing a CB promoter. This correlated with significant reductions in the RV/LV+S ratio and RVSP in MCT-AAV9CBhPGIS rats that resembled levels in saline-saline rats. No changes in levels of PGF1(α), RV/LV+S, or RVSP were detected in rats transduced with AAV9-hPGIS vectors containing a modified CB promoter (CB7) or a distal epithelial cell-specific promoter (CC10). Thus, AAV9CBhPGIS vectors prevented development of MCT-induced PAH and associated pulmonary vascular remodeling.

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