Purpose: We describe a novel vector system of nonviral gene transfer into the cornea using a partially dried form of a plasmid expressing 18-kDa basic fibroblast growth factor (p-bFGF)-synthetic amphiphile INTeraction-18 (SAINT-18) complex.
Methods: Corneal neovascularization (NV) was evaluated in 48 eyes of Sprague-Dawley rats after implantation of SAINT-18 containing 2 micro g of plasmid-expressing green fluorescent protein (p-GFP; control group), 0.2 micro g, 2 micro g, or 20 micro g of p-bFGF from day 0 to day 60. bFGF protein expression was analyzed by Western blotting and immunohistochemistry.
Results: The p-bFGF-SAINT-18 complex induced dose-dependent corneal neovascularization, which reached a maximum on days 15-21 in the 20-micro g p-bFGF group, days 12-18 in the 2-micro g p-bFGF group, and on days 9-15 in the 0.2-micro g p-bFGF group, and then regressed progressively. No NV was observed in the p-GFP group.
Conclusions: This noninflammatory corneal transfection model using partially dried p-bFGF-SAINT-18 complex allows precise localization of tranfection reagents for producing corneal neovascularization.