Retroviral gene transfer is inhibited by chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans/glycosaminoglycans in malignant pleural effusions

Published on Thursday, 30 May 2013


Gene therapy may be an important adjuvant for treating cancer in the pleural space.

The initial results of retroviral gene transfer to cancer cells in malignant pleural effusions revealed that transduction was markedly inhibited, and studies to characterize the inhibitory factor(s) were performed.

The inhibition was contained within the soluble, rather than cellular, components of the effusions and was demonstrated with amphotropic, gibbon ape leukemia virus, and vesicular stomatitis virus-glycoprotein pseudotyped retroviral vectors.

After excluding complement proteins, a series of studies identified chondroitin sulfates (CSs) as the inhibitory substances.

First, treatment of the effusions with mammalian hyaluronidase or chondroitinases, but not Streptomyces hyaluronidase, abolished the inhibitory activity.

Second, addition of exogenous CS glycosaminoglycans mimicked the inhibition observed with pleural effusions.

Third, immunoassays and biochemical analyses of malignant pleural effusion specimens revealed CS in relevant concentrations within pleural fluid.

Fourth, proteoglycans/glycosaminoglycans isolated from the effusions inhibited retroviral gene transfer.

Analyses of the mechanism of inhibition indicate that the chondroitin sulfates interact with vector in solution rather than at the target cell surface.

These results suggest that drainage of the malignant pleural effusion, and perhaps enzymatic pretreatment of the pleural cavity, will be necessary for efficient retroviral vector mediated gene delivery to pleural metastases.



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