The effects of cyclic stretch on gene transfer in alveolar epithelial cells

Winna Taylor, Kerimi E. Gokay, Chris Capaccio, Erica Davis, Matthew Glucksberg, David A. Dean*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Cyclic stretch has been shown to alter cell physiology, cytoskeletal structure, signal transduction, and gene expression in a variety of cell types. To determine the effects of stretch on the gene transfer process, we compared the transfection efficiencies of human A549 cells grown either statically or exposed to 10% cyclic stretch (Δ surface area) at 60 cycles/min (1 Hz) for 24 hours prior to, and/or after transfection with pEGFP-N1 and pCMV-lux-DTS using lipoplex or electroporation. Stretching the cells prior to transfection had no effect on gene transfer. By contrast, cyclic, but not continuous, stretch applied immediately after transfection for as little as 30 minutes resulted in a 10-fold increase in gene transfer and expression by either transfection technique. These stretch conditions did not result in rupture of the plasma membrane based on the fact that DNA was unable to enter stretched cells unless either an electric field was applied or the DNA was complexed with liposomes. Taken together with the timing of the stretch response and the known effects of stretch on transcription, these findings suggest that cyclic stretch may be altering the intracellular transport of plasmids to increase gene expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)542-549
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003


  • Cyclic stretch
  • Electroporation
  • Gene delivery
  • Gene expression
  • Gene therapy
  • Lipoplex
  • Nonviral vectors
  • Plasmid DNA
  • Transfection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pharmacology


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