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Innovative Erythrocyte-based Carriers for Gene Delivery in Porcine Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells: Basis for Local Therapy to Prevent Restenosis

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Vascular restenosis is affecting 30-40% of patients treated by percutaneous coronary angioplasty (PTCA). The advent of stenting reduced but not abolished restenosis. The introduction of drug eluting stent (DES) further reduced restenosis, but impaired endothelization exposed to intracoronary thrombosis as late adverse event.

It is widely accepted that the endothelial denudation and coronary wall damages expose Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells (VSMC) to multiple growth factors and plasma circulating agents thus activating migration and proliferative pathways leading to restenosis.

Among the major players of this processes, phosphorylated Elk-1, forming the Elk-1/SRF transcription complex, controls the expression of a different set of genes responsible for cell proliferation. Therefore, it is feasible that gene-specific oligonucleotide therapy targeting VSMC migration and proliferation genes can be a promising therapeutic approach. While a plethora of vehicles is suitably working in static in vitro cultures, methods for in vivo delivery of oligonucleotides are still under investigation. Recently, we have patented a novel erythrocyte-based drug delivery system with high capability to fuse with targeted cells thus improving drug bioavailability at the site of action. Here, the potential of these engineered porcine erythrocytes to deliver a synthetic DNA Elk-1 decoy inside syngenic porcine VSMC was tested. The results of this study indicate that Elk-1 decoy is actually able to inhibit cell proliferation and migration of VSMC. Our data also suggest that erythrocyte-based carriers are more efficient in delivering these oligonucleotides in comparison to conventional vehicles. As a consequence, a lower dose of Elk-1 decoy, delivered by engineered erythrocytes, was sufficient to inhibit cell growth and migration.

This approach represents the translational step to reach in vivo experiments in pigs after PTCA and/or stent implantation where oligonucleotide drugs will be site-specific administered by using erythrocyte-based carriers to prevent restenosis.
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Keywords: DNA Oligonucleotide decoy; Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells; biotherapy delivery; endothelial layer; erythrocyte-based drug delivery system; gene therapy; hyperplasia; target therapy

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-09-01

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  • Cardiovascular & Hematological Disorders - Drug Targets aims to cover all the latest and outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, genomics and biochemistry of contemporary molecular targets involved in cardiovascular and hematological disorders e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will contain a series of timely in-depth reviews written by leaders in the field covering a range of current topics on drug targets involved in cardiovascular and hematological disorders. As the discovery, identification, characterization and validation of novel human drug targets for cardiovascular and hematological drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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