Direct in vivo adenovirus-mediated gene transfer to salivary glands
Gene Transfer Techniques
Gene transfer to the salivary glands holds the potential for the therapy of salivary gland disorders and for delivery of therapeutic proteins to the mouth and upper gastrointestinal tract. Administration of the recombinant adenovirus vectors Ad.RSV beta gal [coding for the intracellular protein beta-galactosidase (beta-Gal)] and Ad alpha 1AT [coding for human alpha 1-antitrypsin (alpha 1-AT), a secreted protein] to salivary gland cell lines in vitro demonstrated exogenous gene expression. Retrograde ductal injection of the Ad.RSV beta gal vector to rat salivary glands in vivo resulted in beta-Gal expression in acinar and ductal cells. Exposure of submandibular glands in vivo to Ad alpha 1AT resulted in expression of alpha 1-AT mRNA transcripts, de novo synthesis of alpha 1-AT, and secretion in the saliva. To evaluate the feasibility of adenovirus-mediated gene transfer to human glands, human minor salivary glands were infected ex vivo with Ad.RSV beta gal, and implanted into severe combined immunodeficient mice. Evaluation of the human tissue demonstrated beta-Gal activity. These observations demonstrate that adenovirus vectors are capable of direct delivery of genes to the salivary glands, suggesting a variety of possible gene therapy applications.