Sflt multivalent conjugates inhibit angiogenesis and improve half-life in vivo
Altiok, Eda I.
Moran, Elizabeth P.
Santiago-Ortiz, Jorge L.
Chan, Matilda F.
Healy, Kevin E.
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Altiok, Eda I. Browne, Shane; Khuc, Emily; Moran, Elizabeth P.; Qiu, Fangfang; Zhou, Kelu; Santiago-Ortiz, Jorge L.; Ma, Jian-xing; Chan, Matilda F.; Healy, Kevin E. (2016). Sflt multivalent conjugates inhibit angiogenesis and improve half-life in vivo. PLOS ONE 11 (6),
Current anti-VEGF drugs for patients with diabetic retinopathy suffer from short residence time in the vitreous of the eye. In order to maintain biologically effective doses of drug for inhibiting retinal neovascularization, patients are required to receive regular monthly injections of drug, which often results in low patient compliance and progression of the disease. To improve the intravitreal residence time of anti-VEGF drugs, we have synthesized multivalent bioconjugates of an anti-VEGF protein, soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 (sFlt) that is covalently grafted to chains of hyaluronic acid (HyA), conjugates that are termed mvsFlt. Using a mouse corneal angiogenesis assay, we demonstrate that covalent conjugation to HyA chains does not decrease the bioactivity of sFlt and that mvsFlt is equivalent to sFlt at inhibiting corneal angiogenesis. In a rat vitreous model, we observed that mvsFlt had significantly increased intravitreal residence time compared to the unconjugated sFlt after 2 days. The calculated intravitreal half-lives for sFlt and mvsFlt were 3.3 and 35 hours, respectively. Furthermore, we show that mvsFlt is more effective than the unconjugated form at inhibiting retinal neovascularization in an oxygen-induced retinopathy model, an effect that is most likely due to the longer half-life of mvsFlt in the vitreous. Taken together, our results indicate that conjugation of sFlt to HyA does not affect its affinity for VEGF and this conjugation significantly improves drug half-life. These in vivo results suggest that our strategy of multivalent conjugation could substantially improve upon drug half-life, and thus the efficacy of currently available drugs that are used in diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, thereby improving patient quality of life.