Physiological effects of human growth hormone produced after hydrodynamic gene transfer of a plasmid vector containing the human ubiquitin promotor
The human plasma protein mannan-binding lectin (MBL) is an essential part of the innate immune defense system. Low levels of MBL are associated with recurrent infections and other clinically significant signs of a compromised immune defense. Previous studies have addressed the possibility of reconstitution therapy by the use of recombinant or plasma-derived protein. Natural MBL is a multimeric protein, which consists of up to 18 identical polypeptide chains. Synthesis by in vitro methods of MBL with the proper multimeric structure is difficult. We here report that mice obtain MBL levels comparable to those found in normal human plasma when injected with an MBL expression construct as naked plasmid DNA contained in a large volume of physiologic salt solution. The expression was confined to the liver and high MBL expression levels were obtained with less than 5% of the liver cells transfected. The multimeric structure of the MBL found in plasma of injected mice was similar to that of natural MBL. Thus, liver expression following injection of naked DNA is an alternative to reconstitution therapy with a protein having a complex quaternary structure.