• gene therapy;
  • hepatocyte growth factor;
  • ischemic heart disease;
  • two isoforms



The therapeutic potential of pCK-HGF-X7, a naked DNA designed to express two isoforms of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF723 and HGF728), was studied in the rat ischemic heart disease model.


First, the kinetics of gene expression was examined by injecting pCK-HGF-X7 DNA into the rat heart. Second, the cardioprotective effects were compared between the two naked DNA constructs, expressing a single (HGF728) or both isoforms (HGF728 and HGF723) of HGF, in the rat ischemic heart disease model. The ischemic injury to the rat heart was created by ischemia–reperfusion in the anterior descending artery. The respective naked DNA constructs were injected into the anterior wall of the rat heart with the ischemia–reperfusion injury. Cardiac function, capillary density and anti-fibrotic activity were compared between the two naked DNA constructs.


The intramyocardial administration of pCK-HGF-X7 resulted in transient and localized HGF expression for 3 weeks. At its peak, approximately 678 pg (per mg of tissue protein) of HGF was produced in the injected heart without an increase of HGF protein level in other tissues, and serum. pCK-HGF-X7 more efficiently improved the left ventricular ejection fraction and the systolic anterior wall thickness, increased the capillary density, and inhibited myocardial fibrosis, in a statistically significant manner, compared to the identical vector encoding HGF728 only.


These results demonstrate that transfer of the genomic-cDNA hybrid expressing both isoforms of the HGF gene might provide higher therapeutic effects than the cDNA sequence producing HGF728 alone in the treatment of ischemic heart disease. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.