Prolonged Circulation of Recombinant Human Granulocyte–Colony Stimulating Factor by Covalent Linkage to Albumin Through a Heterobifunctional Polyethylene Glycol

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Recombinant human granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (rhG-CSF) was covalently conjugated to both rat and human serum albumin (RSA and HSA respectively) to increases the circulating half life (t½) of rhG-CSF.


Conjugates of RSA (MW 67,000) and HSA (MW 66,000) were prepared by linking the two proteins through a heterobifunctional maleimido-carboxyl polyethylene glycol (PEG) and were tested in the rat. The conjugates were injected intravenously (IV) at the equivalent dose of 50 µg/kg of rhG-CSF, and white blood cell (WBC) counts and plasma concentrations of drug were determined. A comparison of pharmacokinetic parameters was made between rhG-CSF, the conjugates RSA-PEG-rhG-CSF and HSA-PEG-rhG-CSF, and a non-covalent mixture of rhG-CSF and HSA.


The albumin-rhG-CSF conjugates are eliminated more slowly from the circulation. The clearance values are reduced from 0.839 ± 0.121 ml/mm/kg for rhG-CSF to 0.172 ± 0.013 ml/min/kgfor RSA-PEG-rhG-CSF and 0.141 ± 0.005 ml/mm/kg for HSA-PEG-rhG-CSF. WBC counts increased in both absolute number and duration as compared to rhG-CSF alone. The albumin rhG-CSF conjugates had enhanced serum stability relative to free rhG-CSF. The rate of degradation of the albumin conjugates incubated in rat serum at 37°C decreased five fold.


The results from the study show that specific conjugation of rhG-CSF to albumin decreases plasma clearance in vivo, causes increased WBC response, and increases serum stability as compared to free rhG-CSF.

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