Wei Zhang

National Heart Centre Singapore, Tumasik, Singapore

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Publications (6)37.5 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: A regulated promoter system to control gene expression is desirable for safe and efficacious over-expression of therapeutic transgene. Combined with skeletal myoblast (SkMs), we report the efficacy of hypoxia-regulated VEGF gene delivery for myocardial repair during acute myocardial infarction (AMI). A hypoxia-regulated VEGF plasmid (pHRE-VEGF) was developed. After optimization, ∼30% SkMs were transfected using polyethyleneimine (PEI) nanoparticles. The peak VEGF expression was higher in pHRE-VEGF transfected SkMs ((VEGF)SkMs) under hypoxia (151.34 ± 8.59 ng/ml) than that with normoxia (16.92 ± 2.74 ng/ml). The efficacy of hypoxia-regulated gene expression system was assessed in a rabbit model of AMI. The animals were grouped to receive basal M199 without cells (group-1) or containing non-transfected SkMs (group-2) or (VEGF)SkMs (group-3). In group-4, (VEGF)SkMs were injected into normal heart to serve as normoxia control. Improved SkM survival was observed in group-3 and -4 (p < 0.05 vs group-2) at day-3 and 7 after transplantation. Blood vessel density was 20.1 ± 1.3 in group-3 which was significantly higher than any other groups (p < 0.05) at 2 weeks after treatment. Improved blood flow (ml/min/g) in the left ventricle (LV) anterior wall was observed in group-3 (1.28 ± 0.09, p < 0.05) as compared with group-1 (0.76 ± 0.05) and group-2 (0.96 ± 0.06), and similar to group-4 (1.26 ± 0.05). LV ejection fraction was best preserved in group-3 (58.4 ± 1.75%) which was insignificantly different from group-4 (61.1 ± 1.8%), and group-2 (52.8 ± 1.4%), but significantly improved compared with group-1 (44.7 ± 2.2%, p < 0.05). The study demonstrates that nanoparticle based delivery of hypoxia-regulated VEGF transgene combined with SkMs during AMI effectively preserves LV regional blood flow and contractile function of the heart.
    Biomaterials 03/2011; 32(9):2424-31. DOI:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.12.008 · 8.31 Impact Factor
  • CVD Prevention and Control 05/2009; 4. DOI:10.1016/S1875-4570(09)60337-5
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    ABSTRACT: The study aims to use cholesterol (Chol) + DOTAP liposome (CD liposome) based human vascular endothelial growth factor-165 (VEGF(165)) gene transfer into skeletal myoblasts (SkMs) for treatment of acute hind limb ischaemia in a rabbit model. The feasibility and efficacy of CD liposome mediated gene transfer with rabbit SkMs were characterized using plasmid carrying enhanced green fluorescent protein (pEGFP) and assessed by flow cytometry. After optimization, SkMs were transfected with CD lipoplexes carrying plasmid-VEGF(165) (CD-pVEGF(165)) and transplanted into rabbit ischaemic limb. Animals were randomized to receive intramuscular injection of Medium199 (M199; group 1), non-transfected SkM (group 2) or CD-pVEGF(165) transfected SkM (group 3). Flow cytometry revealed that up to 16% rabbit SkMs were successfully transfected with pEGFP. Based on the optimized transfection condition, transfected rabbit SkM expressed VEGF(165) up to day 18 with peak at day 2. SkMs were observed in all cell-transplanted groups, as visualized with 6-diamidino-2-phenylindole and bromodeoxyuridine. Angiographic blood vessel score revealed increased collateral vessel development in group 3 (39.7 +/- 2.0) compared with group 2 (21.6 +/- 1.1%, P < 0.001) and group 1 (16.9 +/- 1.1%, P < 0.001). Immunostaining for CD31 showed significantly increased capillary density in group 3 (14.88 +/- 0.9) compared with group 2 (8.5 +/- 0.49, P < 0.001) and group 1 (5.69 +/- 0.3, P < 0.001). Improved blood flow (ml/min./g) was achieved in animal group 3 (0.173 +/- 0.04) as compared with animal group 2 (0.122 +/- 0.016; P= 0.047) and group 1 (0.062 +/- 0.012; P < 0.001). In conclusion, CD liposome mediated VEGF(165) gene transfer with SkMs effectively induced neovascularization in the ischaemic hind limb and may serve as a safe and new therapeutic modality for the repair of acute ischaemic limb disease.
    Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 09/2008; 14(1-2):323-36. DOI:10.1111/j.1582-4934.2008.00454.x · 3.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We aim to investigate the feasibility and efficacy of cholesterol (Chol)+DOTAP liposome (CD liposome) based human vascular endothelial growth factor-165 (hVEGF(165)) gene transfer into human skeletal myoblasts (hSkM) for cardiac repair. The feasibility and efficacy of CD liposome for gene transfer with hSkM was characterized using plasmid carrying enhanced green fluorescent protein (pEGFP). Based on the optimized transfection procedure, hSkM were transfected with CD lipoplexes carrying plasmid-hVEGF(165) (CD-phVEGF(165)). The genetically modified hSkM were transplanted into rat heart model of acute myocardial infarction. Flow cytometry revealed that about 7.99% hSkM could be transfected with pEGFP. Based on the optimized transfection condition, transfected hSkM expressed hVEGF(165) up to day-18 (1.7+/-0.1ng/ml) with peak at day-2 (13.1+/-0.52ng/ml) with >85% cell viability. Animal studies revealed that reduced apoptosis, improved angiogenesis with blood flow in group-3 animal's heart were achieved as compared to group-1 and 2. Ejection fraction was best recovered in group-3 animals. The study demonstrates that though gene transfection efficiency using CD liposome mediated hVEGF(165) gene transfer with hSkM was low; hVEGF(165) gene expression efficiency was sufficient to induce neovascularization, improve blood flow and injured heart function.
    Biomaterials 05/2008; 29(13):2125-37. DOI:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2008.01.014 · 8.31 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Low-level transgene efficiency is one of the main obstacles in ex vivo nonviral vector-mediated gene transfer into primary human skeletal myoblasts (hSkMs). We optimized the cholesterol:N-[1-(2, 3-dioleoyloxy)propyl]-N, N, N-trimethylammonium methylsulfate liposome (CD liposome) and 22-kDa polyethylenimine (PEI22)- and 25-kDa polyethylenimine (PEI25)-mediated transfection of primary hSkMs for angiogenic gene delivery. We found that transfection efficiency and cell viability of three nonviral vectors were cell passage dependent: early cell passages of hSkMs had higher transfection efficiencies with poor cell viabilities, whereas later cell passages of hSkMs had lower transfection efficiencies with better cell viabilities. Trypsinization improved the transfection efficiency by 20% to 60% compared with adherent hSkMs. Optimum gene transfection efficiency was found with passage 6 trypsinized hSkMs: transfection efficiency with CD lipoplexes was 6.99 +/- 0.13%, PEI22 polyplexes was 18.58 +/- 1.57%, and PEI25 polyplexes was 13.32 +/- 0.88%. When pEGFP (a plasmid encoding the enhanced green fluorescent protein) was replaced with a vector containing human vascular endothelial growth factor 165 (phVEGF(165)), the optimized gene transfection conditions resulted in hVEGF(165) expression up to Day 18 with a peak level at Day 2 after transfection. This study demonstrated that therapeutic angiogenic gene transfer through CD or PEI is feasible and safe after optimization. It could be a potential strategy for treatment of ischemic disease for angiomyogenesis.
    Experimental Biology and Medicine 01/2008; 232(11):1477-87. DOI:10.3181/0706-RM-175 · 2.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the feasibility and efficacy of polyethylenimine (PEI) based human vascular endothelial growth factor-165 (hVEGF165) gene transfer into human skeletal myoblasts (HSM) for cell based delivery to the infarcted myocardium. Based on optimized transfection procedure using enhanced green fluorescent protein (pEGFP), HSM were transfected with plasmid-hVEGF165 (phVEGF165) carried by PEI (PEI-phVEGF165) nanoparticles. The transfected HSM were characterized for transfection and expression of hVEGF165 in vitro and transplanted into rat heart model of acute myocardial infarction (AMI): group-1=DMEM injection, group-2= HSM transplantation, group-3= PEI-phVEGF165-transfected HSM (PEI-phVEGF165 myoblast) transplantation. A total of 48 rats received cyclosporine injection from 3 days before and until 4 weeks after cell transplantation. Echocardiography was performed to assess the heart function. Animals were sacrificed for molecular and histological studies on the heart tissue at 4 weeks after treatment. Based on optimized transfection conditions, transfected HSM expressed hVEGF165 for 18 days with >90% cell viability in vitro. Apoptotic index was reduced in group-2 and group-3 as compared with group-1. Blood vessel density (x400) by immunostaining for PECAM-1 in group-3 was significantly higher (P=0.043 for both) as compared with group-1 and group-2 at 4 weeks. Regional blood flow (ml/min/g) in the left ventricular anterior wall was higher in group-3 (P=0.043 for both) as compared with group-1 and group-2. Improved ejection fraction was achieved in group-3 (58.44+/-4.92%) as compared with group-1 (P=0.004). PEI nanoparticle mediated hVEGF165 gene transfer into HSM is feasible and safe. It may serve as a novel and efficient alternative for angiomyogenesis in cardiac repair.
    Circulation 10/2007; 116(11 Suppl):I113-20. DOI:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.106.680124 · 14.95 Impact Factor