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Combination of PEI-Mn0.5Zn0.5Fe2O4 nanoparticles and pHsp 70-HSV-TK/GCV with magnet-induced heating for treatment of hepatoma

Authors Tang Q, Lu M, Chen D, Liu PD

Received 18 July 2015

Accepted for publication 2 October 2015

Published 18 November 2015 Volume 2015:10(1) Pages 7129—7143


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Lei Yang

Qiusha Tang,1 Mudan Lu,2 Daozhen Chen,2 Peidang Liu1

1School of Medicine, Southeast University, Nanjing, 2Genetic Laboratory, Wuxi Hospital for Maternal and Child Health Care, the Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Wuxi, People’s Republic of China

Background: To explore a new combination of thermal treatment and gene therapy for hepatoma, a heat-inducible herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase/ganciclovir (HSV-TK/GCV) gene therapy system was developed in which thermal energy generated by Mn0.5Zn0.5Fe2O4 nanoparticles (MZF-NPs) under an alternating magnetic field was used to activate gene expression.
Methods: First, a recombinant eukaryotic plasmid, pHsp 70-HSV-TK, was constructed as a target gene for therapy. This recombinant plasmid was used to transfect SMMC-7721 hepatoma cells and the gene expression was evaluated. Magnet-induced heating was then applied to cells to assess the antihepatoma effects of the polyethylenimine (PEI)-MZF-NPs/pHsp 70-HSV-TK/GCV complex, in vitro and in vivo.
Results: The results showed that cells were successfully transfected with pHsp 70-HSV-TK and that expression levels of HSV-TK remained stable. Both in vitro and in vivo results indicated that the combination of gene therapy and heat treatment resulted in better therapeutic effects than heating-alone group. The rates of apoptosis and necrosis in the combined treatment group were 49.0% and 7.21%, respectively. The rate of inhibition of cell proliferation in the combined treatment group was significantly higher (87.5%) than that in the heating-alone group (65.8%; P<0.01). The tumor volume and mass inhibition rates of the combined treatment group were 91.3% and 87.91%, respectively, and were significantly higher than the corresponding rates of the heating-alone group (70.41% and 57.14%; P<0.01). The expression levels of Stat3 and Bcl-xL messenger RNA and p-Stat3 and Bcl-xL protein in the combined treatment group were significantly lower than those in the other groups (P<0.01). The expression levels of Bax messenger RNA and protein in the recombinant plasmid group were significantly higher than those in the other groups (P<0.01).
Conclusion: It can therefore be concluded that the combined application of heat treatment and gene therapy has a synergistic and complementary effect and that PEI-MZF-NPs can simultaneously act both as a nonviral gene vector and a magnet-induced source of heat, thereby representing a viable approach for the treatment of cancer.

Keywords: Mn0.5Zn0.5Fe2O4 nanoparticles, heat-inducible gene expression, hyperthermia, gene therapy, HSV-TK/GCV, SMMC-7721 hepatoma cells

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