A novel approach to glioma gene therapy: down-regulation of the vascular endothelial growth factor in glioma cells using ribozymes.
- L D Ke
- J Fueyo
- X Chen
- P A Steck
- Y X Shi
- S A Im
- W K Yung
Affiliations: Department of Neuro-Oncology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.
- Published online on: June 1, 1998 https://doi.org/10.3892/ijo.12.6.1391
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Glioblastoma multiforme is one of the most highly vascularized solid neoplasms, therefore treatments that target neovascularization process would be of great clinical importance. Studies of glioblastoma angiogenesis have revealed that expression of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is up-regulated in these tumors. Previous reports have shown that down-regulation of VEGF correlates with modification in the glioma growth. To examine this phenomenon further, in this study we constructed two hammerhead ribozymes (RZI and RZII) to target the 5' common region of VEGF mRNA. Both ribozymes exhibited site-specific cleavage to a 318-nucleotide VEGF transcript and showed a high digestion efficiency in vitro (65-95%). After the transfection of glioma cells with two expression vectors carrying the ribozyme sequence, Northern blot analyses detected high levels of ribozyme expression. Treatment of the glioma cells with the ribozymes resulted in a reduction in VEGF mRNA in six of eight clones. Furthermore, the anti-VEGF effect was confirmed at protein level. Thus, enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent analyses (ELISA) showed a >70% reduction in the VEGF165 expression level. These results indicate that hammerhead ribozymes may be useful in down-regulating VEGF expression and suggest that anti-VEGF strategies may be used to potentiate other gene therapies targeting tumor suppressor genes.