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Hum Gene Ther. 1994 Aug;5(8):987-95.

Effect of exogenous nerve growth factor on neurotoxicity of and neuronal gene delivery by a herpes simplex amplicon vector in the rat brain.

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  • 1Neuroregeneration Laboratory, McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA 02178.


We have previously shown that local destruction of neural tissue by wild-type herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is attenuated by intracerebral infusion of nerve growth factor (NGF). To investigate the effect of NGF on the extent of neurolysis and efficacy of neuronal gene transfer mediated by an HSV-1 amplicon vector system in vivo, rats were stereotaxically injected in the striatum with an amplicon preparation, pHSVlac. This amplicon contains the Escherichia coli lacZ gene under the transcriptional control of the HSV-1 immediate early 4/5 promoter and is packaged by an HSV-1 helper virus carrying a deletion in the immediate early 3 gene. Vector injection was followed by continuous intracerebral infusion of NGF-beta (total dose 5 micrograms) or vehicle solution over 7 days. Animals were sacrificed at the end of the 7-day infusion period for histological analysis of the brains. A distinct zone of inflammation and necrosis surrounded the injection site in all vector-inoculated animals. The volume of striatal tissue destruction was significantly smaller in NGF-treated animals (1.27 +/- 0.19 mm3; mean +/- SEM) than in the vehicle-treated controls (2.16 +/- 0.37 mm3; P < 0.05 by t-test). Immunohistochemical staining for HSV and beta-galactosidase (beta-Gal) in vehicle-treated animals revealed that many striatal cells harbored HSV antigens (3,678 +/- 636), but only a small number expressed the reporter gene at 7 days post-injection (294 +/- 60). NGF infusion did not significantly affect the number of HSV-immunoreactive cells (4,224 +/- 618), or the number of cells expressing beta-Gal (330 +/- 72) at this time.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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