Plasmid-based gene therapy with hepatocyte growth factor stimulates peripheral nerve regeneration after traumatic injury
Peripheral nerve injury remains a common clinical problem with no satisfactory treatment options. Numerous
studies have shown that hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) exerts neurotrophic effect in motor, sensory, and
parasympathetic neurons in addition to mitogenic, morphogenic, angiogenic, antiapoptotic, antifibrotic, and
anti-inflammatory effect on various tissues and cells. In our study we examined efficacy of gene therapy with
HGF-bearing plasmid (pC4W-hHGF) to improve consequences of traumatic nerve injury in mice.
Treatment by pC4W-hHGF led to restoration of nerve structure and functional recovery compared to similar
parameters in control animals. Compound action potentials (CAP) in experimental groups treated with 100 or
200 μg of pC4W-hHGF demonstrated increased amplitude and latency decrease compared to spontaneous recovery
control group. In HGF-treated mice histological analysis showed a three-fold increase in axon number in
nerve portion located distal to the lesion site compared to control. Moreover, significant functional recovery of n.
peroneus communis triggered by pC4W-hHGF gene therapy was observed using the footprints analysis. Obtained
results provide evidence for plasmid-based HGF gene therapy as a potential treatment for traumatic injury of