A vigilant, hypoxia-regulated heme oxygenase-1 gene vector in the heart limits cardiac injury after ischemia-reperfusion in vivo

Yao Liang Tang, Keping Qian, Y. Clare Zhang, Leping Shen, M. Ian Phillips

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Objectives: The effect of a cardiac specific, hypoxia-regulated, human heme oxygenase-1 (hHO-1) vector to provide cardioprotection from ischemia-reperfusion injury was assessed. Background: When myocardial ischemia and reperfusion is asymptomatic, the damaging effects are cumulative and patients miss timely treatment. A gene therapy approach that expresses therapeutic genes only when ischemia is experienced is a desirable strategy. We have developed a cardiac-specific, hypoxia-regulated gene therapy "vigilant vector" system that amplifies cardioprotective gene expression. Methods: Vigilant hHO-1 plasmids, LacZ plasmids, or saline (n = 40 per group) were injected into mouse heart 2 days in advance of ischemia-reperfusion injury. Animals were exposed to 60 minutes of ischemia followed by 24 hours of reperfusion. For that term (24 hours) effects, the protein levels of HO-1, inflammatory responses, apoptosis, and infarct size were determined. For long-term (3 week) effects, the left ventricular remodeling and recovery of cardiac function were assessed. Results: Ischemia-reperfusion resulted in a timely overexpression of HO-1 protein. Infarct size at 24 hours after ischemia-reperfusion was significantly reduced in the HO-1-treated animals compared with the LacZ-treated group or saline-treated group (P < .001). The reduction of infarct size was accompanied by a decrease in lipid peroxidant activity, inflammatory cell infiltration, and proapoptotic protein level in ischemia-reperfusion-injured myocardium. The long-term study demonstrated that timely, hypoxia-induced HO-1 overexpression is beneficial in conserving cardiac function and attenuating left ventricle remodelling. Conclusions: The vigilant HO-1 vector provides a protective therapy in the heart for reducing cellular damage during ischemia-reperfusion injury and preserving heart function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-263
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Inflammatory response
  • Ischemia-reperfusion injury
  • Vigilant heme oxygenase-1 vector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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