Combination of HIF-1α gene transfection and HIF-1-activated bone marrow-derived angiogenic cell infusion improves burn wound healing in aged mice

Gene Ther. 2013 Nov;20(11):1070-6. doi: 10.1038/gt.2013.32. Epub 2013 Jun 20.


Impaired burn wound healing in the elderly represents a major clinical problem. Hypoxia-inducible factor-1 (HIF-1) is a transcriptional activator that orchestrates the cellular response to hypoxia. Its actions in dermal wounds promote angiogenesis and improve healing. In a murine burn wound model, aged mice had impaired wound healing associated with reduced levels of HIF-1. When gene therapy with HIF-1 alone did not correct these deficits, we explored the potential benefit of HIF-1 gene therapy combined with the intravenous infusion of bone marrow-derived angiogenic cells (BMDACs) cultured with dimethyloxalylglycine (DMOG). DMOG is known to reduce oxidative degradation of HIF-1. The mice treated with a plasmid DNA construct expressing a stabilized mutant form of HIF-1α (CA5-HIF-1α)+BMDACs had more rapid wound closure. By day 17, there were more mice with completely closed wounds in the treated group (χ(2), P=0.05). The dermal blood flow measured by laser Doppler showed significantly increased wound perfusion on day 11. Homing of BMDACs to the burn wound was dramatically enhanced by CA5-HIF-1α gene therapy. HIF-1α mRNA expression in the burn wound was increased after transfection with CA5-HIF-1α plasmid. Our findings offer insight into the pathophysiology of burns in the elderly and point to potential targets for developing new therapeutic strategies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / metabolism*
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation*
  • Burns / genetics
  • Burns / physiopathology*
  • Burns / therapy
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Genetic Therapy*
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / genetics*
  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neovascularization, Physiologic
  • Transfection*
  • Wound Healing


  • Hypoxia-Inducible Factor 1, alpha Subunit