Development of Strategies to Modulate Gene Expression of Angiogenesis-related Molecules in the Retina

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Abstract

Intravitreal anti-vascular endothelial growth factor agents are the gold standard treatment of ocular neovascular diseases. However, their short-term efficacy implies frequent intravitreal injections. Gene therapy has the ability to provide longer duration of the therapeutic effect. We have previously described the effectiveness of the self-replicating episomal vector, pEPito, in long-term gene expression in mouse retina. In this study, we evaluated different constructs to overexpress pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), an angiogenesis inhibitor, and simultaneously, to silence placental growth factor (PlGF), a key player in neovascularization. We employed the human cytomegalovirus promoter to drive the expression of PEDF and PlGF shRNA, in conjunction with cis-acting ribozymes, using pEPito as expressing vector. Our results demonstrated that the non-viral systems were able to efficiently promote a sustained increase of the PEDF: PlGF ratio in the mice retina, decreased in pathological conditions. This innovative approach could open avenues for the development of new therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number145724
JournalGene
Volume791
Early online date16 May 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2021

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