Chronic ethanol increases adeno-associated viral transgene expression in rat liver via oxidant and NFkappaB-dependent mechanisms. Academic Article uri icon


  • Recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) transduction is limited in vivo, yet can be enhanced by hydroxyurea, ultraviolet-irradiation, or adenovirus coinfection, possibly via mechanisms involving stress in the host cell. Because chronic ethanol induces oxidative stress, it was hypothesized that chronic ethanol would increase rAAV transduction in vivo. To test this hypothesis, rAAV encoding beta-galactosidase was given to Wistar rats that later received either ethanol diet or high-fat control diet via an enteral-feeding protocol for 3 weeks. Expression and activity of beta-galactosidase in the liver were increased nearly 5-fold by ethanol. The increase in transgene expression was inhibited by antioxidant diphenylene iodonium (DPI), which is consistent with the hypothesis that ethanol causes an increase in rAAV transduction via oxidative stress. Ethanol increased DNA synthesis only slightly; however, it increased the nuclear transcription factor kappaB (NFkappaB) 4-fold, a phenomenon also sensitive to DPI. Moreover, a 6-fold increase in rAAV transgene expression was observed in an acute ischemia-reperfusion model of oxidative stress. Transgene expression was transiently increased 24 hours after ischemia-reperfusion 3 days and 3 weeks after rAAV infection. Further, adenoviral expression of superoxide dismutase or IkappaBalpha superrepressor inhibited rAAV transgene expression caused by ischemia-reperfusion. Therefore, it is concluded that ethanol increases rAAV transgene expression via mechanisms dependent on oxidative stress, and NFkappaB likely through enhancement of cytomegaloviral (CMV) promoter elements. Alcoholic liver disease is an attractive target for gene therapy because consumption of ethanol could theoretically increase expression of therapeutic genes (e.g., superoxide dismutase). Moreover, this study has important implications for rAAV gene therapy and potential enhancement and regulation of transgene expression in liver.

published proceedings

  • Hepatology

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Wheeler, M. D., Kono, H., Rusyn, I., Arteel, G. E., McCarty, D., Samulski, R. J., & Thurman, R. G.

citation count

  • 25

complete list of authors

  • Wheeler, MD||Kono, H||Rusyn, I||Arteel, GE||McCarty, D||Samulski, RJ||Thurman, RG

publication date

  • January 2000