Impaired function of the phospholamban (PLB)-regulated sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+pump (SERCA2a) contributes to cardiac dysfunction in heart failure (HF). PLB downregulation may increase SERCA2a activity and improve cardiac function. Small interfering (si)RNAs mediate efficient gene silencing by RNA interference (RNAi). However, their use for in vivo gene therapy is limited by siRNA instability in plasma and tissues, and by low siRNA transfer rates into target cells. To address these problems, we developed an adenoviral vector (AdV) transcribing short hairpin (sh)RNAs against rat PLB and evaluated its potential to silence the PLB gene and to modulate SERCA2a-mediated Ca2+sequestration in primary neonatal rat cardiomyocytes (PNCMs). Over a period of 13 days, vector transduction resulted in stable >99.9% ablation of PLB-mRNA at a multiplicity of infection of 100. PLB protein gradually decreased until day 7 (7±2% left), whereas SERCA, Na+/Ca2+exchanger (NCX1), calsequestrin and troponin I protein remained unchanged. PLB silencing was associated with a marked increase in ATP-dependent oxalate-supported Ca2+uptake at 0.34μM of free Ca2+, and rapid loss of responsiveness to protein kinase A-dependent stimulation of Ca2+uptake was maintained until day 7. In summary, these results indicate that AdV-derived PLB-shRNA mediates highly efficient, specific and stable PLB gene silencing and modulation of active Ca2+sequestration in PNCMs. The availability of the new vector now enables employment of RNAi for the treatment of HF in vivo.,
Gene Therapy
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Fechner, H., Suckau, L., Kurreck, J., Sipo, I., Wang, X., Pinkert, S., … Poller, W. C. (2007). Highly efficient and specific modulation of cardiac calcium homeostasis by adenovector-derived short hairpin RNA targeting phospholamban. Gene Therapy, 14(3), 211–218. doi:10.1038/