Gene therapy with extracellular superoxide dismutase attenuates myocardial stunning in conscious rabbits

Qianhong Li, Roberto Bolli, Yumin Qiu, Xian Liang Tang, Sidney S. Murphree, Brent A. French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


Background - Administration of Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD) without catalase fails to alleviate myocardial stunning, but extracellular SOD (Ec- SOD) may be more effective because it binds to heparan sulfate proteoglycans on the cellular glycocalyx. We therefore used in vivo gene transfer to increase systemic levels of Ec-SOD and determined whether this gene therapy protects against myocardial stunning. Methods and Results - The cDNA for human Ec-SOD was cloned behind the cytomegalovirus (CMV) promoter and incorporated into a replication-deficient adenovirus (Ad5/CMV/Ec-SOD). Injection of this virus (2x108 pfu/kg IV) produced high levels of Ec-SOD in the liver, which could be redistributed to the heart and other organs by injection of heparin. Conscious rabbits underwent a sequence of six 4-minute coronary occlusion/4-minute reperfusion cycles for 3 consecutive days starting 3 days after intravenous injection of Ad5/CMV/Ec-SOD or Ad5/CMV/nls/LacZ (negative control). Both groups were given heparin (2000 U/kg IV) 2 hours before the first sequence of occlusions. The severity of myocardial stunning was measured as the total deficit of LV wall thickening after the last reperfusion. On day 1, the total deficit of wall thickening was markedly decreased in Ad5/CMV/Ec-SOD rabbits versus controls and similar to that seen on days 2 and 3 in controls. Conclusions - The results demonstrate that in vivo gene transfer of the CDNA encoding Ec-SOD provides the heart with substantial protection against myocardial stunning without the need for concomitant administration of catalase. The present observations provide the basis for controlling gene therapy at the posttranslational level and for simultaneously protecting multiple organs from oxidant stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1438-1448
Number of pages11
Issue number14
StatePublished - Oct 6 1998


  • Free radicals
  • Genes
  • Ischemia
  • Reperfusion
  • Stunning, myocardial
  • Superoxide dismutase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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