Complement depletion facilitates the infection of multiple brain tumors by an intravascular, replication-conditional herpes simplex virus mutant

Keiro Ikeda, Hiroaki Wakimoto, Tomotsugu Ichikawa, Sarah Jhung, Fred H. Hochberg, David N. Louis, E. Antonio Chiocca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

127 Citations (Scopus)


Intravascular routes of administration can provide a means to target gene- and virus-based therapies to multiple tumor foci located within an organ, such as the brain. However, we demonstrate here that rodent plasma inhibits cell transduction by replication-conditional (oncolytic) herpes simplex viruses (HSV), replication-defective HSV, and adenovirus vectors. In vitro depletion of complement with mild heat treatment or in vivo depletion by treatment of athymic rats with cobra venom factor (CVF) partially reverses this effect. Without CVF, inhibition of cell infection by HSV is observed at plasma dilution as high as 1:32, while plasma from CVF-treated animals displays anti-HSV activity at lower dilutions (1:8). When applied to the therapy of intracerebral brain tumors, in vivo complement depletion facilitates the initial infection (assayed at the 2-day time point) by an intra-arterial replication-conditional HSV of tumor cells, located within three separate and distinct human glioma masses. However, at the 4-day time point, no propagation of HSV from initially infected tumor cells could be observed. Previously, we have shown that the immunosuppressive agent, cyclophosphamide (CPA), facilitates the in vivo propagation of an oncolytic HSV, delivered intravascularly, within infected multiple intracerebral masses, by inhibition of both innate and elicited anti-HSV neutralizing antibody response (K. Ikeda et al., Nat. Med. 5:881-889, 1999). In this study, we thus show that the addition of CPA to the CVF treatment results in a significant increase in viral propagation within infected tumors, measured at the 4-day time period. The concerted action of CVF and CPA significantly increases the life span of athymic rodents harboring three separate and large glioma xenografts after treatment with intravascular, oncolytic HSV. Southern analysis of viral genomes analyzed by PCR reveals the presence of the oncolytic virus in the brains, livers, spleens, kidneys, and intestine of treated animals, although none of these tissues displays evidence of HSV- mediated gene expression. In light of clinical trials of oncolytic HSV for malignant brain tumors, these findings suggest that antitumor efficacy may be limited by the host innate and elicited humoral responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4765-4775
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Insect Science
  • Virology


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