DOI: 10.1161/circ.148.suppl_1.17260 ISSN: 0009-7322

Abstract 17260: Endothelium-Targeted Nanoparticle Delivery of FOXM1 Reactivates Aging-Impaired Endothelial Regeneration for Vascular Repair and Inflammatory Lung Injury Resolution: Precision Gene Therapy of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome

Xiaojia Huang, Xianming Zhang, Narsa Machireddy, Colin Evans, Youyang Zhao
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Introduction: Aging is a major risk factor of high incidence and increased mortality of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). However, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain elusive and there is no effective therapy for ARDS.

Hypothesis: Impaired endothelial regeneration and vascular repair in aged lungs causes persistent lung injury leading to high incidence of ARDS and high mortality in elderly patients following sepsis challenge.

Methods: Genetic lineage tracing was employed to determine the cell origin of endothelial regeneration. Aged Foxm1Tg mice was used for assessing the role of FoxM1 in activating endothelial regeneration. Endothelium-targeted nanoparticles were employed to deliver FOXM1 gene selectively to endothelial cells (ECs) in aged mice. Methylation analysis was employed to determine how aging impairs FoxM1 expression.

Results: Genetic lineage tracing study showed that endothelial regeneration was mediated by lung endothelial proliferation in adult mice whereas this intrinsic regenerative program was impaired in aged mice. Expression of FoxM1, an important mediator of endothelial regeneration in young adult mice, was not induced in lungs of aged mice due to aging-induced hypermethylation of the Foxm1 promoter. Transgenic FOXM1 expression or in vivo endothelium-targeted nanoparticle delivery of FOXM1 gene reactivated endothelial regeneration, normalized vascular repair and promoted survival of aged mice following sepsis. Furthermore, nanoparticle delivery of FoxM1 gene selectively in lung ECs also reactivated endothelial regeneration in aged mice, supporting the novel concept of precision gene therapy. In COVID-19 lung autopsy samples, FOXM1 expression was not induced in vascular ECs of elderly patients in contrast to mid-age patients, validating the clinical relevance of our findings.

Conclusions: We have demonstrate that persistent lung injury and high mortality in aged mice following sepsis challenge is ascribed to impaired endothelial regeneration and vascular repair. Therapeutic reactivation of FoxM1-dependent endothelial regeneration and vascular repair represents a potential effective therapy for elderly ARDS patients by endothelium-targeted nanoparticle delivery of FOXM1 gene.

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