Vascular gene transfer driven by endoglin and ICAM-2 endothelial-specific promoters

Gene Ther. 2001 Jun;8(12):897-904. doi: 10.1038/


The involvement of the vascular endothelium in a large number of diseases supports the importance of vascular-specific gene delivery for their treatment. The hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia type 1 is an example of a vascular inherited disease (OMIM 187300). This is an autosomal dominant vascular disorder originated by mutations in the endoglin gene and associated with frequent epistaxis, telangiectases, gastrointestinal bleedings, and arteriovenous malformations in brain, lung and liver. Here, we address for the first time the possibility of using in vivo gene transfer to target endoglin expression to the vasculature. The promoter of the endothelial gene, ICAM-2, was used to generate transgenic animals which demonstrated endothelial expression of endoglin. Next, the promoters of the human endothelial genes, endoglin and ICAM-2, were inserted upstream of the human endoglin cDNA, and the resulting constructs were systemically or locally delivered, demonstrating endoglin expression in the vessel walls of liver, lung and skin. These gene transfer experiments represent an initial step in the treatment of the hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia type 1 by gene therapy, and suggest that endoglin and ICAM-2 promoters can be used to deliver other genes to the endothelium specifically.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / genetics*
  • Blotting, Western / methods
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / genetics*
  • Endoglin
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Targeting / methods*
  • Genetic Therapy / methods
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Telangiectasia, Hereditary Hemorrhagic / therapy*
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / analysis
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / genetics*


  • Antigens, CD
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • ENG protein, human
  • Endoglin
  • ICAM2 protein, human
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1