Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory joint disease, leading to cartilage and bone destruction. We investigated whether the electrotransfer of IL-4 DNA could regulate the disease progress of murine collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). The maximum serum level of mIL-4 was measured by 340 pg/ml on day 1 following DNA transfer. The onset of severe CIA and the degree of synovitis and cartilage erosion were significantly reduced in mice treated with IL-4 DNA (P < 0.05). The beneficial effect of IL-4 gene transfer lasted for at least 17 days subsequent to treatment. The expression of IL-1β was considerably decreased in the paws by IL-4 DNA transfer (P < 0.01). On the contrary, the ratio of TIMP2 to MMP2 significantly increased in the IL-4 DNA-treated group (P < 0.01). These data demonstrated that electroporation-mediated gene transfer could provide a new approach as an IL-4 therapy for autoimmune arthritis. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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