Study Design. In vitro and in vivo studies using a rabbit model were performed to determine the feasibility of adenovirus-mediated gene transfer to the intervertebral disc. Objectives. This study was conducted to determine whether it is possible to transfer genes to cells within the intervertebral disc by direct injection of an adenovirus and to determine the duration of gene expression obtained by this method. Summary of Background Data. Although growth factors have the potential to stimulate the regeneration of nucleus pulposus, sustained delivery of growth factors to a degenerated disc is clinically unfeasible with present technology. Novel approaches such as gene transfer should be investigated as possible solutions to this problem. Methods. The lacZ marker gene was used to evaluate gene delivery to cells within intervertebral discs. For the in vitro study, cell cultures were established from the nucleus pulposus tissue of New Zealand white rabbits and infected with an adenovirus encoding the lacZ gene (Ad-lacZ). For the in vivo study, the anterior aspects of lumbar intervertebral discs were surgically exposed, and Ad-lacZ in saline solution was directly injected into the nucleus pulposus. An equal volume of saline only was injected into control discs. Expression of the transferred gene was detected by staining with 5- bromo-4-chloro-3-indolyl-β-galactosidase (X-Gal). Results. The in vitro experiments confirmed that nucleus pulposus cells were efficiently transduced by an adenoviral vector carrying the lacZ gene. In vivo injection of Ad-lacZ into the nucleus pulposus resulted in the transduction of a considerable number of cells. Marker gene expression in vivo persisted at an apparently undiminished level for at least 12 weeks. No staining was noted in control discs. Conclusions. The results show the feasibility of adenovirus-mediated gene transfer to the intervertebral disc. Expression of the marker gene persisted at least 12 weeks in vivo. This successful demonstration of exogenous gene transfer to the disc and sustained, long-term expression suggests that the adenoviral vector may be suitable for delivery of appropriate genes to the disc for the treatment of spinal disorders.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|State||Published - Nov 15 1998|
- Animal study
- Disc degeneration
- Gene therapy
- Intervertebral disc