Partial correction of the dwarf phenotype by non-viral transfer of the growth hormone gene in mice: Treatment age is critical

Eliza Higuti, Cláudia R. Cecchi, Nélio A J Oliveira, Eliana R. Lima, Daniel P. Vieira, Lars Aagaard, Thomas G. Jensen, Alexander A L Jorge, Paolo Bartolini, Cibele N. Peroni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Non-viral transfer of the growth hormone gene to different muscles of immunodeficient dwarf (lit/scid) mice is under study with the objective of improving phenotypic correction via this particular gene therapy approach. Plasmid DNA was administered into the exposed quadriceps or non-exposed tibialis cranialis muscle of lit/scid mice followed by electroporation, monitoring several growth parameters. In a 6-month bioassay, 50 μg DNA were injected three times into the quadriceps muscle of 80-day old mice. A 50% weight increase, with a catch-up growth of 21%, together with a 16% increase for nose-to-tail and tail lengths (catch-up = 19-21%) and a 24-28% increase for femur length (catch-up = 53-60%), were obtained. mIGF1 serum levels were ~. 7-fold higher than the basal levels for untreated mice, but still ~. 2-fold lower than in non-dwarf scid mice. Since treatment age was found to be particularly important in a second bioassay utilizing 40-day old mice, these pubertal mice were compared in a third bioassay with adult (80-day old) mice, all treated twice with 50 μg DNA injected into each tibialis cranialis muscle, via a less invasive approach. mIGF1 concentrations at the same level as co-aged scid mice were obtained 15 days after administration in pubertal mice. Catch-up growth, based on femur length (77%), nose-to-tail (36%) and tail length (39%) increases was 40 to 95% higher than those obtained upon treating adult mice. These data pave the way for the development of more effective pre-clinical assays in pubertal dwarf mice for the treatment of GH deficiency via plasmid-DNA muscular administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalGrowth Hormone and IGF Research
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Gene therapy
  • Growth hormone gene
  • Immunodeficient dwarf mice
  • MIGF1
  • Non-viral gene transfer
  • Treatment age


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