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