A novel recombinant RANKL vaccine prepared by incorporation of an unnatural amino acid into RANKL and its preventive effect in a murine model of collagen-induced arthritis

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Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammatory synovitis, bone atrophy, and subsequent progressive destruction of articular tissue. Targeted inhibition of receptor activator of NF-kB ligand (RANKL) has been highly successful in preventing RA-mediated bone erosion in animal models and patients, suggesting that development of a RANKL vaccine might be of therapeutic value. Our previous study has shown that the recombinant RANKL vaccine Y234pNO2Phe, generated by replacement of a single tyrosine residue (Tyr234) in murine RANKL (mRANKL) with p-nitrophenylalanine (pNO2Phe), induces a high titer antibody response and prevents ovariectomy (OVX)-induced bone loss in mice. This aim of this study was to further evaluate the vaccine's preventive effects in a murine model of collagen-induced arthritis. The results of this study showed that Y234pNO2Phe not only induced a high titer antibody response and inhibited osteoclastogenesis but also significantly prevented bone erosion and ameliorated the severity of a collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) model in mice. Moreover, use of the vaccine improved the clinical situations of the CIA mice. These results suggest a potential application of an anti-RANKL vaccine in the treatment of RA-induced bone erosion.HighlightsFirst to construct a recombinant RANKL vaccine by incorporation of an unnatural amino acid into RANKLFirst to evaluate the preventive effects of recombinant RANKL vaccine in CIA miceThe vaccine significantly ameliorates focal bone erosion and clinical syndrome in CIA mice.The vaccine decrease serum RANKL levels in CIA mice.

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