Biodistribution and endocytosis of ICAM-1-targeting antibodies versus nanocarriers in the gastrointestinal tract in mice
Viraj Mane,1 Silvia Muro1, 2
1Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research, 2Fischell Department of Bioengineering, University of Maryland, College Park, MD, USA
Abstract: Drug delivery to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is key for improving treatment of GI maladies, developing oral vaccines, and facilitating drug transport into circulation. However, delivery of formulations to the GI tract is hindered by pH changes, degradative enzymes, mucus, and peristalsis, leading to poor GI retention. Targeting may prolong residence of therapeutics in the GI tract and enhance their interaction with this tissue, improving such aspects. We evaluated nanocarrier (NC) and ligand-mediated targeting in the GI tract following gastric gavage in mice. We compared GI biodistribution, degradation, and endocytosis between control antibodies and antibodies targeting the cell surface determinant intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1), expressed on GI epithelium and other cell types. These antibodies were administered either as free entities or coated onto polymer NCs. Fluorescence and radioisotope tracing showed proximal accumulation, with preferential retention in the stomach, jejunum, and ileum; and minimal presence in the duodenum, cecum, and colon by 1 hour after administration. Upstream (gastric) retention was enhanced in NC formulations, with decreased downstream (jejunal) accumulation. Of the total dose delivered to the GI tract, ~60% was susceptible to enzymatic (but not pH-mediated) degradation, verified both in vitro and in vivo. Attenuation of peristalsis by sedation increased upstream retention (stomach, duodenum, and jejunum). Conversely, alkaline NaHCO3, which enhances GI transit by decreasing mucosal viscosity, favored downstream (ileal) passage. This suggests passive transit through the GI tract, governed by mucoadhesion and peristalsis. In contrast, both free anti-ICAM and anti-ICAM NCs demonstrated significantly enhanced upstream (stomach and duodenum) retention when compared to control IgG counterparts, suggesting GI targeting. This was validated by transmission electron microscopy and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, which revealed anti-ICAM NCs in vesicular compartments within duodenal epithelial cells. These results will guide future work aimed at improving intraoral delivery of targeted therapeutics for the treatment of GI pathologies.
Keywords: gastrointestinal tract, ICAM-1 targeting, endocytosis, antibody, polymer nanocarriers
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