Transforming growth factor-beta gene therapy ameliorates experimental colitis in rats

Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 1995 Apr;7(4):341-7.


Objective: To modulate experimental colitis by the direct intramuscular injection of cDNA expression vector encoding transforming growth factor-beta 1.

Methods: Colitis was induced in rats by the intracolonic administration of 0.25 ml 50% ethanol containing 30 mg trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid. Three and 10 days later the rats were injected intramuscularly with 200 micrograms transforming growth factor-beta 1 cDNA subcloned to the pRSV expression vector (pRSVTGF-beta 1). Control rats were injected with pRSVP2. The rats were sacrificed 2 weeks after trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid treatment and a 10 cm long distal colonic segment was resected, weighted, the lesion area measured, sections obtained for histology and the mucosa extracted for determination of myeloperoxidase activity and leukotriene generation.

Results: In pRSVP2-treated rats (n = 17) the colon was inflamed and ulcerated with many adhesions to adjacent structures; the pRSVTGF-beta 1-treated rats (n = 21) had minimal swelling and inflammation in the colon. On histological examination 50% of the pRSVTGF-beta 1-treated rats had minimal or no ulceration, whereas 83% of the pRSVP2-treated rats had a maximal damage score. In pRSVTG-beta 1-treated rats the lesion area and wet weight were 21 and 52.5%, respectively, of the values for pRSVP2-treated rats (P < 0.05). The amelioration of tissue injury was accompanied by a significant decrease in mucosal leukotriene C4 generation.

Conclusions: Direct intramuscular transforming growth factor-beta 1 gene delivery effectively ameliorates trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid-induced colitis, suggesting that gene therapy with immunosuppressive cytokines may be a novel approach for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colitis / chemically induced
  • Colitis / therapy*
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Genetic Therapy*
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / genetics*
  • Trinitrobenzenesulfonic Acid


  • DNA, Complementary
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Trinitrobenzenesulfonic Acid