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Hum Gene Ther. 1995 Dec;6(12):1553-60.

Pulmonary inflammation induced by incomplete or inactivated adenoviral particles.

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Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor, 48109-0360.


One of the major obstacles to pulmonary-directed gene therapy using adenoviral vectors is the induction of inflammation. We investigated whether the adenoviral particles that constitute the initial inoculum can serve as an inflammatory stimulus, independent of their ability to express genes that they contain. Viral particles were prepared that are defective in gene expression by (i) isolating particles that have incomplete genomes by selecting those that have buoyant densities on CsCl density gradients lighter than complete viruses; and (ii) cross-linking viral DNA by exposure to ultraviolet light in the presence of 8-methoxypsoralen. The defective particles retained their icosahedral appearance when viewed by electron microscopy but lost their plaque-forming ability on 293 cells. High doses of intact, incomplete, or inactivated viral particles were instilled intratracheally into CBA/J mice, and after 6 days the amount of inflammation was quantified by counting inflammatory cells contained within lung tissue. We found that the inflammatory responses induced by the incomplete or inactivated viral vectors were quantitatively similar to those caused by intact, competent viral vectors. We conclude that high doses of adenoviral vectors that are used for gene therapy can induce pulmonary inflammation, independent of expressing the genes they contain.

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