PURPOSE: Alpha-1-antitrypsin (AAT) is the major circulating elastase inhibitor. Deficiency of elastase inhibition leads to emphysema and vascular abnormalities including accelerated neointima. Because recent evidence suggests that tissue AAT levels determine inhibitory function, the authors hypothesize that local tissue-based expression of AAT limits elastase activity sufficiently to guide arterial response to injury. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Rabbit common femoral arteries were injured by mechanical overdilation and treated with buffer, viral control, or an adenovirus expressing AAT (Ad/AAT). After 3 and 28 days, intima-to-media (I/M) ratios were evaluated. Additionally, early changes in elastase inhibition potential (3 d), extracellular elastin and collagen content (3 d), and local macrophage and neutrophil infiltration (7 d) were determined. RESULTS: Ad/AAT significantly decreased neointima formation after mechanical dilation injury after 28 days: buffer controls exhibited mean I/M ratios of 0.76 ± 0.06, whereas viral controls reached 0.77 ± 0.09; in contrast, Ad/AAT reduced I/M ratios to 0.44 ± 0.06. Both early elastin and collagen content were preserved in the Ad/AAT group relative to controls. The Ad/AAT group also reversed the local inflammation that characterized viral controls. CONCLUSIONS: This strategy demonstrates that local increases in elastase inhibition potential promote a neointima-resistant small-caliber artery, which may offer new promise in management of patients undergoing angioplasty.
- Elastase inhibitors
- Gene therapy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine