Intramuscular administration of a VEGF zinc finger transcription factor activator (VEGF-ZFP-TF) improves functional outcomes in SOD1 rats

Michele A. Kliem, Brenten L. Heeke, Colin K. Franz, Igor Radovitskiy, Bethwel Raore, Emily Barrow, Brooke R. Snyder, Thais Federici, S. Kaye Spratt, Nicholas M. Boulis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is characterized by motor neuron loss leading to paralysis and death. Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) has angiogenic, neurotrophic, and neuroprotective properties, and has preserved neuromuscular function and protected motor neurons in rats engineered to overexpress the human gene coding the mutated G93A form of the superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1). We assessed the effects of intramuscular administration of a plasmid that encodes a zinc finger protein transcription factor (ZFP-TF) engineered to induce VEGF expression in the SOD1 rat model of ALS. Weekly injections of the plasmid preserved ipsilateral hindlimb grip strength and markedly improved rotarod performance in SOD1 rats compared to the vehicle-treated group. The number of motor neurons and the proportion of innervated neuromuscular junctions were similar in both groups. In conclusion, our data suggest that administration of the VEGF-ZFP-TF may be neuroprotective and has potential as a safe and practical approach for the management of motor disability in ALS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-339
Number of pages9
JournalAmyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Volume12
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011

Keywords

  • ALS
  • Gastrocnemius muscle
  • SOD1
  • VEGF
  • Zinc finger protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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