Closure of the ductus arteriosus requires prenatal formation of intimal cushions, which occlude the vessel lumen at birth. Survival of newborns with severe congenital heart defects, however, depends on ductal patency. We used a gene transfer approach to create a patent ductus arteriosus by targeting the fibronectin-dependent smooth muscle cell migration required for intimal cushion formation. Fetal lamb ductus arteriosus was transfected in utero with hemagglutinating virus of Japan liposomes containing plasmid encoding 'decoy' RNA to sequester the fibronectin mRNA binding protein. Fibronectin translation was inhibited and intimal cushion formation was prevented. We thus established the essential role of fibronectin-dependent smooth muscle cell migration in intimal cushion formation in the intact animal and the feasibility of incorporating biological engineering in the management of congenital heart disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)