Protection of human endothelial cells from oxidant injury by adenovirus-mediated transfer of the human catalase cDNA
In a variety of disorders, endothelial cells are exposed to high levels of oxidants, generated within the cells and/or consequent to local inflammation. In the context of the sensitivity of endothelial cells to oxidant stress, particularly related to H2O2, we have designed a replication deficient recombinant adenovirus containing the human catalase cDNA (AdCL) to transfer the catalase cDNA to the endothelial cells, in order to augment intracellular anti-H2O2 protection. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells that were not infected or infected with control adenovirus maintained low levels of catalase mRNA. Endothelial cells infected with AdCL expressed AdCL-driven exogenous catalase mRNA, as early as 24 hr and at least for 7 days. Catalase protein levels were increased significantly over controls in cells infected with AdCL, as were catalase activity levels, with catalase activity correlated closely with levels of catalase protein. Importantly, when the endothelial cells were exposed to 500 microM H2O2, all the AdCL infected endothelial cells survived, compared to only 37% of the control cells. Thus, a recombinant adenovirus containing the human catalase cDNA is able to infect human endothelial cells in vitro and express high levels of functional intracellular catalase, protecting the cells against H2O2-mediated oxidant stress. These observations support the feasibility of the transfer of catalase cDNA to human endothelium to protect against oxidant injury.