Gene therapy with extracellular superoxide dismutase protects conscious rabbits against myocardial infarction

Qianhong Li, Roberto Bolli, Yumin Qiu, Xian Liang Tang, Yiru Guo, Brent A. French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background - Extracellular superoxide dismutase (Ec-SOD) may protect the heart against myocardial infarction (MI) because of its extended half-life and capacity to bind heparan sulfate proteoglycans on cellular surfaces. Accordingly, we used direct gene transfer to increase systemic levels of Ec-SOD and determined whether this gene therapy could protect against MI. Methods and Results - The cDNA for human Ec-SOD was incorporated into a replication-deficient adenovirus (Ad5/CMV/Ec-SOD). Injection of this virus produced a high level of Ec-SOD in the liver, which was redistributed to the heart and other organs by injection of heparin. Untreated rabbits (group I) underwent a 30-minute coronary occlusion and 3 days of reperfusion. For comparison, preconditioned rabbits (group II) underwent a sequence of six 4-minute-occlusion/4-minute-reperfusion cycles 24 hours before the 30-minute occlusion. Control-treated rabbits (group III) were injected intravenously with Ad5/CMV/nls-LacZ, and gene-therapy rabbits (group IV) were injected with Ad5/CMV/Ec-SOD 3 days before the 30-minute occlusion. Both groups treated with Ad5 received intravenous heparin 2 hours before the 30-minute occlusion. Infarct size (percent risk area) was similar in groups I (57±6%) and III (58±5%). Ec-SOD gene therapy markedly reduced infarct size to 25±4% (P<0.01, group IV versus group III), a protection comparable to that of the late phase of ischemic preconditioning (29±3%, P<0.01 group II versus group I). Conclusions - Direct gene transfer of the cDNA encoding membrane-bound Ec-SOD affords powerful cardioprotection, providing proof of principle for the effectiveness of antioxidant gene therapy against MI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1893-1898
Number of pages6
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 10 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidants
  • Genes
  • Ischemia
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Viruses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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