Vein graft failure caused by neointimal hyperplasia (IH) after coronary artery bypass grafting with saphenous veins is a major clinical problem. The lack of safe and efficient vectors for vascular gene transfer has significantly hindered progress in this field. We have developed a Receptor-Targeted Nanocomplex (RTN) vector system for this purpose and assessed its therapeutic efficacy in a rabbit vein graft model of bypass grafting. Adventitial delivery of β-Galactosidase showed widespread transfection throughout the vein wall on day 7, estimated at about 10% of cells in the adventitia and media. Vein grafts were then transfected with a plasmid encoding inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and engrafted into the carotid artery. Fluorescent immunohistochemistry analysis of samples from rabbits killed at 7 days after surgery showed that mostly endothelial cells and macrophages were transfected. Morphometric analysis of vein graft samples from the 28-day groups showed approximately a 50% reduction of neointimal thickness and 64% reduction of neointimal area in the iNOS-treated group compared with the surgery control groups. This study demonstrates efficacy of iNOS gene delivery by the RTN formulation in reducing IH in the rabbit model of vein graft disease.
- Carotid Arteries/pathology
- DNA, Complementary/genetics
- Genetic Therapy/methods
- Graft Occlusion, Vascular/etiology
- Jugular Veins/transplantation
- Models, Animal
- Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II/genetics