The ABCG1 protein is centrally involved in reverse cholesterol transport from the vessel wall. Investigation of the effects of ABCG1 overexpression or knockdown in vivo has produced controversial results and strongly depended on the gene intervention model in which it was studied. Therefore, we investigated the effect of local overexpression of human ABCG1 in a novel model of vessel walldirected adenoviral gene transfer in atherosclerotic rabbits. We conducted local, vascularspecific gene transfer by adenoviral delivery of human ABCG1 (Ad-ABCG1-GFP) in cholesterol- fed atherosclerotic rabbits in vivo. Endothelial overexpression of ABCG1 markedly reduced atheroprogression (plaque size) and almost blunted vascular inflammation, as shown by markedly reduced macrophage and smooth muscle cell invasion into the vascular wall. Also endothelial function, as determined by vascular ultrasound in vivo, was improved in rabbits after gene transfer with Ad-ABCG1- GFP. Therefore, both earlier and later stages of atherosclerosis were improved in this model of somatic gene transfer into the vessel wall. In contrast to results in transgenic mice, overexpression of ABCG1 by somatic gene transfer to the atherosclerotic vessel wall results in a significant improvement of plaque morphology and composition, and of vascular function in vivo.
Adenoviral vector, gene transfer, ABCG1, atherosclerosis.
Martin Ungerer; Corimmun GmbH; Fraunhofer Str. 17; D-82152 Martinsried, Germany. Tel. +49.89.85652010 – Fax: +49.89.85652020 E-email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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