Electroporation has been reported to facilitate naked DNA gene transfer in skeletal muscle, but has also been implicated in the pathogenesis of electrical injuries. To assess the effects of electroporation on gene transfer, mouse quadriceps muscles were injected with the luciferase reporter plasmid VR1255 and electroporated with caliper electrodes. Intramuscular luciferase expression was increased 10- to 70-fold by electroporation, depending on the DNA dose and injection volume used. In the absence of plasmid DNA injection, electroporation of quadriceps muscles resulted in rapid elevations in serum creatine phosphokinase activity, but did not elicit visible muscle damage. However, in muscles injected with plasmid DNA and electroporated, visible lesions consistently developed in the areas proximal to electrode placement when field strengths optimal for gene transfer (300 volts/cm) were applied. The development of muscle lesions was independent of plasmid transgene expression and required the presence of plasmid in the muscle during electroporation. Co-injection of poloxamer 188 (pluronic F68) with VR1255 substantially reduced elevations in serum creatine phosphokinase activity following electroporation, but did not inhibit the development of muscle lesions. In non-electroporated muscles, co-injection of poloxamer 188 increased luciferase expression threefold. Poloxamer 188 may thus constitute a useful excipient for intramuscular delivery of naked DNA.
Hartikka, J., Sukhu, L., Buchner, C., Hazard, D., Bozoukova, V., Margalith, M., … Sawdey, M. (2001). Electroporation-facilitated delivery of plasmid DNA in skeletal muscle: Plasmid dependence of muscle damage and effect of poloxamer 188. Molecular Therapy, 4(5), 407–415. https://doi.org/10.1006/mthe.2001.0483