Transgene expression from helper-dependent adenoviral (HD-Ad) vectors is effective and long lasting, but not permanent. Their use is also limited by the host response against capsid proteins that precludes successful gene expression upon readministration. In this report, we test the hypothesis that PEGylation of HD-Ad reduces its toxicity and promotes transgene expression upon readministration. PEGylation did not compromise transduction efficiency in vitro and in vivo and reduced peak serum IL-6 levels two-fold. IL-12 and TNF-α levels were reduced three- and seven-fold, respectively. Thrombocytopenia was not detected in mice treated with the PEGylated vector. Serum transaminases were not significantly elevated in mice treated with either vector. Mice immunized with 1 × 1011 particles of unmodified HD-Ad expressing human alpha-1 antittrypsin (hA1AT) were rechallenged 28 days later with 8 × 1010 particles of unmodified or PEG-conjugated vector expressing beta-galactosidase. Trace levels of beta-galactosidase (52.23±19.2pg/mg protein) were detected in liver homogenates of mice that received two doses of unmodified HD-Ad. Mice rechallenged with PEGylated HD-Ad produced significant levels of beta-galactosidase (5.1±0.4 × 105 pg/mg protein, P = 0.0001). This suggests that PEGylation of HD-Ad vectors may be appropriate for their safe and efficient use in the clinic.
- Helper-dependent adenoviral vectors
- Immune response
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