To increase transgene expression in the liver, electric pulses were applied to the left lateral lobe after intravenous injection of naked plasmid DNA (pDNA) or pDNA/liver targeting vector complex prepared with galactosylated poly(L-lysine) or galactosylated polyethyleneimine. Electroporation (250 V/cm, 5 ms/pulse, 12 pulses, 4 Hz) after naked pDNA injection dramatically increased the expression up to 200,000-fold; the expression level obtained was significantly greater than that achieved by the combination of pDNA/vector complex and electroporation. We clearly demonstrated that the expression was dependent on the plasma concentration of pDNA at the time when the electric pulses were applied. Separation of liver cells revealed that the distribution of naked pDNA as well as transgene expression was largely selective to hepatocytes in the electroporated lobe. The number of cells expressing transgene product using vascularly administered naked pDNA followed by electroporation was significantly (P<0.01) greater and more widespread than that obtained by local injection of naked pDNA. These results indicate that the application of in vivo electroporation to vascularly administered naked pDNA is a useful gene transfer approach to a large number of hepatocytes.