Pharmacokinetics and osteogenic potential of PEGylated NELL-1 in vivo after systemic administration
Osteoporosis is a skeletal disorder attributable to an imbalance in osteoblast and osteoclast activity. NELL-1, a secretory protein that promotes osteogenesis while suppressing osteoclastic activity, holds potential as an osteoporosis therapy. Recently, we demonstrated that PEGylation of NELL-1 significantly improves its thermostability while preserving its bioactivity in vitro. However, the effect of PEGylation on the pharmacokinetics and osteogenic potential of NELL-1 in vivo have yet to be investigated. The present study demonstrated that PEGylation of NELL-1 significantly increases the elimination half-life time of the protein from 5.5 h to 15.5 h while distributing more than 2–3 times the amount of protein to bone tissues (femur, tibia, vertebrae, calvaria) in vivo when compared to naked NELL-1. In addition, microCT and DXA analyses demonstrated that systemic NELL-PEG therapy administered every 4 or 7 days significantly increases not only femoral and lumbar BMD and percent bone volume, but also new bone formation throughout the overall skeleton after four weeks of treatment. Furthermore, immunohistochemistry revealed increased osteocalcin expression, while TRAP staining showed reduced osteoclast numbers in NELL-PEG groups. Our findings suggest that the PEGylation technique presents a viable and promising approach to further develop NELL-1 into an effective systemic therapeutic for the treatment of osteoporosis.
Journal: Biomaterials - Volume 57, July 2015, Pages 73–83