Antibody-Based Targeted Delivery of Interleukin-22 Promotes Rapid Clinical Recovery in Mice With DSS-Induced Colitis

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We have recently described the potential of the alternatively spliced extradomain A of fibronectin as a target for antibody-based pharmacodelivery applications in ulcerative colitis. Here, we report on the cloning and therapeutic properties of novel antibody-based fusion proteins, comprising the F8 antibody specific to extradomain A and murine interleukin (IL)-22, a globular cytokine belonging to the IL10 family. A protective function for IL22 in colitis has previously been described, as this cytokine induces antimicrobial, proliferative, and antiapoptotic pathways, preventing tissue damage and promoting epithelial repair.


Two fusion proteins comprising IL22, fused at the N- or at the C-terminus of the F8 antibody in diabody format, were expressed in mammalian cells. The ability of radiolabeled preparations of the 2 fusion proteins to localize at sites of disease was assessed by autoradiography in a murine model of dextran sodium sulfate–induced colitis and by quantitative biodistribution analysis in a syngeneic mouse teratocarcinoma model. Therapeutic activity was assessed in mice with dextran sodium sulfate–induced colitis, which received intravenous injections of antibody–cytokine fusion proteins.


Both fusion proteins were able to selectively accumulate at the site of disease. The fusion protein with the cytokine moiety at the N-terminal extremity (IL22-F8) exhibited better results than the C-terminal fusion, both in terms of targeting selectivity and therapeutic efficacy. Mice treated with IL22-F8 showed a more rapid recovery from clinical symptoms compared with controls and improved macroscopic and microscopic morphology of the colon.


IL22-F8 is a promising biopharmaceutical drug candidate for the treatment of ulcerative colitis.

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