Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Molecular Biology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Gene expression profiles in skeletal muscle after gene electrotransfer

Pernille Hojman1, John R Zibert2, Hanne Gissel3, Jens Eriksen1 and Julie Gehl1*

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of the Department of Oncology, 5405, Copenhagen University Hospital Herlev, Herlev Ringvej 75, DK-2730 Herlev, Denmark

2 Department of Dermato-Venereology KA-1502, Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, Niels Andersens Vej 65, DK-2900 Hellerup, Denmark

3 Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Aarhus, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Molecular Biology 2007, 8:56  doi:10.1186/1471-2199-8-56

Published: 29 June 2007

Abstract

Background

Gene transfer by electroporation (DNA electrotransfer) to muscle results in high level long term transgenic expression, showing great promise for treatment of e.g. protein deficiency syndromes. However little is known about the effects of DNA electrotransfer on muscle fibres. We have therefore investigated transcriptional changes through gene expression profile analyses, morphological changes by histological analysis, and physiological changes by force generation measurements. DNA electrotransfer was obtained using a combination of a short high voltage pulse (HV, 1000 V/cm, 100 μs) followed by a long low voltage pulse (LV, 100 V/cm, 400 ms); a pulse combination optimised for efficient and safe gene transfer. Muscles were transfected with green fluorescent protein (GFP) and excised at 4 hours, 48 hours or 3 weeks after treatment.

Results

Differentially expressed genes were investigated by microarray analysis, and descriptive statistics were performed to evaluate the effects of 1) electroporation, 2) DNA injection, and 3) time after treatment. The biological significance of the results was assessed by gene annotation and supervised cluster analysis.

Generally, electroporation caused down-regulation of structural proteins e.g. sarcospan and catalytic enzymes. Injection of DNA induced down-regulation of intracellular transport proteins e.g. sentrin. The effects on muscle fibres were transient as the expression profiles 3 weeks after treatment were closely related with the control muscles. Most interestingly, no changes in the expression of proteins involved in inflammatory responses or muscle regeneration was detected, indicating limited muscle damage and regeneration. Histological analysis revealed structural changes with loss of cell integrity and striation pattern in some fibres after DNA+HV+LV treatment, while HV+LV pulses alone showed preservation of cell integrity. No difference in the force generation capacity was observed in the muscles 2 weeks after DNA electrotransfer.

Conclusion

The small and transient changes found in the gene expression profiles are of great importance, as this demonstrates that DNA electrotransfer is safe with minor effects on the muscle host cells. These findings are essential for introducing the DNA electrotransfer to muscle for clinical use. Indeed the HV+LV pulse combination used has been optimised to ensure highly efficient and safe DNA electrotransfer.