Open Access Open Badges Research article

Low-dose plasmid DNA treatment increases plasma vasopressin and regulates blood pressure in experimental endotoxemia

Thiago Malardo1, Marcelo E Batalhão2, Ademilson Panunto-Castelo3, Luciana P Almeida1, Everton Padilha1, Isabela C Fontoura1, Célio L Silva1, Evelin C Carnio2 and Arlete AM Coelho-Castelo1*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry and Immunology, School of Medicine of Ribeirao Preto, University of São Paulo, Ribeirao Preto, SP 14049-900, Brazil

2 Department of General and Specialized Nursing, College of Nursing of Ribeirao Preto, University of São Paulo, Ribeirao Preto, SP 14040-902, Brazil

3 Department of Biology, School of Philosophy, Sciences and Literature of Ribeirao Preto, University of Sao Paulo, Ribeirao Preto, SP 14040-901, Brazil

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Citation and License

BMC Immunology 2012, 13:59  doi:10.1186/1471-2172-13-59

Published: 8 November 2012



Although plasmid DNA encoding an antigen from pathogens or tumor cells has been widely studied as vaccine, the use of plasmid vector (without insert) as therapeutic agent requires further investigation.


Here, we showed that plasmid DNA (pcDNA3) at low doses inhibits the production of IL-6 and TNF-α by lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated macrophage cell line J774. These findings led us to evaluate whether plasmid DNA could act as an anti-inflammatory agent in a Wistar rat endotoxemia model. Rats injected simultaneously with 1.5 mg/kg of LPS and 10 or 20 μg of plasmid DNA had a remarkable attenuation of mean arterial blood pressure (MAP) drop at 2 hours after treatment when compared with rats injected with LPS only. The beneficial effect of the plasmid DNA on MAP was associated with decreased expression of IL-6 in liver and increased concentration of plasma vasopressin (AVP), a known vasoconstrictor that has been investigated in hemorrhagic shock management. No difference was observed in relation to nitric oxide (NO) production.


Our results demonstrate for the first time that plasmid DNA vector at low doses presents anti-inflammatory property and constitutes a novel approach with therapeutic potential in inflammatory diseases.

Endotoxemic shock; Interleukin-6; Naked pcDNA3