Research Article | Published:

A method to codetect introduced genes and their products in gene therapy protocols

Abstract

To monitor the presence of introduced genes and the distribution of the encoded proteins in host tissues after gene transfer, we combined fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and immunohistochemistry in two separate gene therapy paradigms. In brain tissue sections from animals injected with pHSVIac vector, we localized nuclei containing vector DMA both in cells expressing and not expressing ß-galactosidase (ß-gal). This suggests that the efficiency of gene transfer is affected not only by gene delivery, but also by cellular controls on gene expression. In a second paradigm, following myoblast transplantation, we detected donor nuclei in the muscle of a patient with Duchenne's muscular dystrophy. The donor nuclei were either surrounded by host nuclei or apparently fused in the patient's muscle fiber producing dystrophin. The combined FISH and immunohistochemistry assay offers greater sensitivity and more information than currently used polymerase chain reaction and protein detection methods.

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