Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.314, No.4, 1064-1071, 2004
Single intravenous injection of naked plasmid DNA encoding erythropoietin provides neuroprotection in hypoxia-ischiemia rats
Hypoxic-ischemic (H-I) encephalopathy is a major contributor to morbidity and mortality in infants and children. To delineate the nature and mechanism(s) of neuroprotection via erythropoietin (EPO) gene therapy, we evaluated the effects of single intravenous injection of naked plasmid DNA encoding EPO in H-I infant rats. Single administration of naked plasmid containing EPO cDNA driven under cytomegalovirus promoter (pCMV-EPO) by rapid injection via the tail vein produced a remarkable level of human EPO protein in the circulation, peaking at one day and lasting for 14 days after injection. There were significant improvements of water maze task in H-I rats after EPO gene therapy. Our data showed that the mechanisms of EPO gene therapy were rescue of CA1 neurons from lethal H-I injury, prevention of neuronal apoptosis in CA1 region, and decrease of glial activation in corpus callosum. This could be the first report of successful treatment of H-I injury by a single intravenous infusion of EPO gene. (C) 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.