Background High-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) has recently been identified as an important mediator of various kinds of acute and chronic inflammation. The protein encoded by the box-A domain of the HMGB1 gene is known to act as a competitive inhibitor of HMGB1. In this study, we investigated whether box-A gene transfer results in box-A protein production in rats and assessed therapeutic efficacy in vivo using an acute liver failure (ALF) model. Materials and methods Three types of adenovirus vectors were constructed-a wild type and two mutants-and a mutant vector was then selected based on the secretion from HeLa cells. The secreted protein was subjected to a tumor necrosis factor (TNF) production inhibition test in vitro. The vector was injected via the portal vein in healthy Wistar rats to confirm box-A protein production in the liver. The vector was then injected via the portal vein in rats with ALF. Results Western blot analysis showed enhanced expression of box-A protein in HeLa cells transfected with one of the mutant vectors. The culture supernatant from HeLa cells transfected with the vector inhibited TNF-α production from macrophages. Expression of box-A protein was confirmed in the transfected liver at 72 h after transfection. Transfected rats showed decreased hepatic enzymes, plasma HMGB1, and hepatic TNF-α messenger RNA levels, and histologic findings and survival were significantly improved. Conclusions HMGB1 box-A gene transfer results in box-A protein production in the liver and appears to have a beneficial effect on ALF in rats.
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