Optimization of mouse growth hormone plasmid DNA electrotransfer into tibialis cranialis muscle of “little” mice

Previous non-viral gene therapy was directed towards two animal models of dwarfism: Immunodeficient (lit/scid) and immunocompetent (lit/lit) dwarf mice. The former, based on hGH DNA administration into muscle, performed better, while the latter, a homologous model based on mGH DNA, was less efficient, though recommended as useful for pre-clinical assays. We have now improved the growth parameters aiming at a complete recovery of the lit/lit phenotype. Electrotransfer was based on three pulses of 375 V/cm of 25 ms each, after mGH-DNA administration into two sites of each non-exposed tibialis cranialis muscle. A 36-day bioassay, performed using 60-day old lit/lit mice, provided the highest GH circulatory levels we have ever obtained for GH non-viral gene therapy: 14.7 ± 3.7 ng mGH/mL. These levels, at the end of the experiment, were 8.5 ± 2.3 ng/mL, i.e., significantly higher than those of the positive control (4.5 ± 1.5 ng/mL). The catch-up growth reached 40.9% for body weight, 38.2% for body length and 82.6%–76.9% for femur length. The catch-up in terms of the mIGF-1 levels remained low, increasing from the previous value of 5.9% to the actual 8.5%. Although a complete phenotypic recovery was not obtained, it should be possible starting with much younger animals and/or increasing the number of injection sites.
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electrotransfer;  gene therapy;  homologous model;  mIGF-1;  little mice;  mouse growth hormone;  non-viral gene transfer;  tibialis cranialis muscle

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Lima ER, Cecchi CR, EH, Jesus GPP, Gomes AM, Zacarias EA, et al. Optimization of mouse growth hormone plasmid DNA electrotransfer into tibialis cranialis muscle of “little” mice. Molecules. 2020 Oct;25(21):5034. doi:10.3390/molecules25215034.
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