Therapeutic Effect of Angiostatin Gene Transfer in a Murine Model of Endometriosis
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Endometriosis, the growth of ectopic endometrial tissue, is a chronic recurrent disease affecting 10% of the female population causing dyspareunia, pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea, and infertility. Suppression of ovarian activity is the cornerstone of medical therapy with limited benefit and severe adverse effects. Angiogenesis plays a major role in the development of endometriosis suggesting that anti-angiogenic therapy would offer a new therapeutic approach. We report successful treatment of endometriosis in estrogen-supplemented ovariectomized mice by transient overexpression (6 to 10 days of duration) of the gene for a natural angiogenesis inhibitor angiostatin, delivered to the peritoneum by a replication-deficient adenovirus vector (AdAngiostatin). Established endometriosis was eradicated in 14 of 14 AdAngiostatin-treated animals, whereas 11 of 13 control animals showed full disease development. Administered to normal cycling mice for the same transient period, AdAngiostatin caused impaired ovarian function with suppressed corpus luteum development, decreased production of estradiol and progesterone, decreased ovarian and uterine weight, and increased body weight. AdAngiostatin treatment lowered the levels of sex steroids but did not induce total castration. Gene therapy with angiogenic inhibitors is a highly effective treatment for endometriosis, even in a host with preserved estrogen levels. However, local or targeted delivery of the gene must be considered to avoid prolonged systemic effects and impaired ovarian function.
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