Therapeutic intervention of numerous brain-associated disorders currently remains unrealized due to serious limitations imposed by the blood-brain-barrier (BBB). The BBB generally allows transport of small molecules, typically <600 daltons with high octanol/water partition coefficients, but denies passage to most larger molecules. However, some receptors present on the BBB allow passage of cognate proteins to the brain. Utilizing such receptor-ligand systems, several investigators have developed methods for delivering proteins to the brain, a critical requirement of which involves covalent linking of the target protein to a carrier entity. Such covalent modifications involve extensive preparative and post-preparative chemistry that poses daunting limitations in the context of delivery to any organ. Here, we report creation of a 36-amino acid peptide transporter, which can transport a protein to the brain after routine intravenous injection of the transporter-protein mixture. No covalent linkage of the protein with the transporter is necessary.
A peptide transporter comprising sixteen lysine residues and 20 amino acids corresponding to the LDLR-binding domain of apolipoprotein E (ApoE) was synthesized. Transport of beta-galactosidase, IgG, IgM, and antibodies against amyloid plques to the brain upon iv injection of the protein-transporter mixture was evaluated through staining for enzyme activity or micro single photon emission tomography (micro-SPECT) or immunostaining. Effect of the transporter on the integrity of the BBB was also investigated.
The transporter enabled delivery to the mouse brain of functional beta-galactosidase, human IgG and IgM, and two antibodies that labeled brain-associated amyloid beta plaques in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.
The results suggest the transporter is able to transport most or all proteins to the brain without the need for chemically linking the transporter to a protein. Thus, the approach offers an avenue for rapid clinical evaluation of numerous candidate drugs against neurological diseases including cancer. (299 words).