Skin as a potential organ for ectopic monoclonal antibody production

Noel, D.; Dazard, J. E.; Pelegrin, M.; Jacquet, C.; Piechaczyk, M.

J Invest Dermatol

2002-02 / vol 118 / pages 288-94


The therapeutic potential of monoclonal antibodies for treating a variety of severe or life-threatening diseases is high. Although intravenous infusion appears the simplest and most obvious mode of administration, it is not applicable to many long-term treatments. It might be advantageously replaced by gene/cell therapies, however, rendering treatments cost-effective and eliminating the short- and long-term side-effects associated with injection of massive doses of antibodies. We have tested whether skin can potentially be used as an organ for production and systemic delivery of ectopic antibodies. Normal human primary keratinocytes were shown to be capable of synthesis and secretion of a model monoclonal antibody directed against human thyroglobulin upon retroviral gene transduction in vitro. Neo- epidermis reconstructed in vitro, either in cell culture inserts or on dermal substrates, from such modified keratinocytes also produced the monoclonal antibody. Interestingly, the latter could cross the epidermis basal layer and be released in culture fluids. Finally, grafting of epidermis reconstituted in vitro on dermal substrates to SCID mice permitted sustained monoclonal antibody delivery into the bloodstream to be achieved. Our data thus show that genetically engineered keratinocytes can potentially be used for genetic antibody-based immunotherapies. They also indicate that proteins as big as 150 kDa, after release by engineered keratinocytes into skin intercellular spaces, can migrate to the general circulation, which is potentially important for a number of other gene-based therapies.

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Humans; Animals; Cells, Cultured; Mice; Tissue Distribution; Gene Transfer Techniques; Genetic Vectors; Antibodies, Monoclonal/*biosynthesis; Thyroglobulin/immunology; Retroviridae/genetics; Epidermis/cytology/immunology; Histological Techniques; Keratinocytes/immunology/transplantation; Mice, SCID/physiology; Skin/*immunology

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