In vivo suppression of injury-induced vascular smooth muscle cell accumulation using adenovirus-mediated transfer of the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase gene

Raul J. Guzman, Edward A. Hirschowitz, Steven L. Brody, Ronald G. Crystal, Stephen E. Epstein, Toren Finkel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

173 Citations (Scopus)


Restenosis, a process characterized in part by excessive smooth muscle cell (SMC) proliferation in areas of vascular injury, occurs in up to 50% of patients undergoing balloon angioplasty. In an effort to develop a treatment strategy for restenosis, we constructed a replication-deficient recombinant adenovirus (AdMLP.HSTK) containing the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase gene (HSV tk). This viral gene product phosphorylates the prodrug ganciclovir to form a nucleoside analog that inhibits DNA synthesis. Cultured primary rat SMCs infected with AdMLP.HSTK were completely growth-inhibited by incubation in ganciclovir-containing medium. In addition, when only a portion of the SMC population received the HSV tk transgene, an inhibitory effect on neighboring SMCs was evident. Evaluation of this strategy in vivo using a rat carotid balloon injury model demonstrated that local infection of injured arteries with AdMLP.HSTK followed by 2 weeks of systemic ganciclovir treatment significantly (P < 0.01) reduced injury-induced SMC accumulation. In contrast, there was no suppression of injury-induced SMC accumulation in animals infected with AdMLP.HSTK but not receiving ganciclovir or in those animals infected with a control adenovirus and either treated or not treated with ganciclovir. These results demonstrate the potential utility of adenovirus-mediated gene transfer for treatment of restenosis after balloon injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10732-10736
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 1994



  • gene therapy
  • restenosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this