Horizontal gene transfer from macrophages to ischemic muscles upon delivery of naked DNA with Pluronic block copolymers

Vivek Mahajan, Zagit Gaymalov, Daria Alakhova, Richa Gupta, Irving H. Zucker, Alexander V. Kabanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Intramuscular administration of plasmid DNA (pDNA) with non-ionic Pluronic block copolymers increases gene expression in injected muscles and lymphoid organs. We studied the role of immune cells in muscle transfection upon inflammation. Local inflammation in murine hind limb ischemia model (MHLIM) drastically increased DNA, RNA and expressed protein levels in ischemic muscles injected with pDNA/Pluronic. The systemic inflammation (MHLIM or peritonitis) also increased expression of pDNA/Pluronic in the muscles. When pDNA/Pluronic was injected in ischemic muscles the reporter gene, Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) co-localized with desmin+ muscle fibers and CD11b+ macrophages (MØs), suggesting transfection of MØs along with the muscle cells. P85 enhanced (~4 orders) transfection of MØs with pDNA in vitro. Moreover, adoptively transferred MØs were shown to pass the transgene to inflamed muscle cells in MHLIM. Using a co-culture of myotubes (MTs) and transfected MØs expressing a reporter gene under constitutive (cmv-luciferase) or muscle specific (desmin-luciferase) promoter we demonstrated that P85 enhances horizontal gene transfer from MØ to MTs. Therefore, MØs can play an important role in muscle transfection with pDNA/Pluronic during inflammation, with both inflammation and Pluronic contributing to the increased gene expression. pDNA/Pluronic has potential for therapeutic gene delivery in muscle pathologies that involve inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-70
Number of pages13
StatePublished - Jan 2016


  • Gene delivery
  • Inflammation
  • Ischemia
  • Macrophage
  • Plasmid DNA
  • Pluronic block copolymer
  • Skeletal muscle transfection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Bioengineering
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials


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