alexa A peptide competing with VEGF165 binding on neuropilin-1 mediates targeting of a chlorin-type photosensitizer and potentiates its photodynamic activity in human endothelial cells.
Molecular Biology

Molecular Biology

Journal of Cytology & Histology

Author(s): Tirand L, Frochot C, Vanderesse R, Thomas N, Trinquet E,

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Abstract Destruction of the neovasculature is essential for efficient tumor eradication by photodynamic therapy (PDT). Since the over-expression of receptors for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is correlated with tumor angiogenesis and subsequent growth, we conjugated a photosensitizer (5-(4-carboxyphenyl)-10,15,20-triphenyl-chlorin, TPC), via a spacer (6-aminohexanoic acid, Ahx), to a VEGF receptor-specific heptapeptide (ATWLPPR). ATWLPPR and TPC-Ahx-ATWLPPR bound exclusively to neuropilin-1 (NRP-1) recombinant chimeric protein (IC50=19 and 171 microM, respectively) but were devoid of affinity for VEGF receptor type 2 (VEGFR-2, KDR), to which ATWLPPR was initially thought to bind. TPC-Ahx-ATWLPPR was incorporated up to 25-fold more in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) than TPC over a 24-h period, and the addition of 8 mM ATWLPPR induced a significant decrease of this uptake (P<0.05), corroborating a receptor-mediated incorporation. Slightly less cytotoxic in the dark, TPC-Ahx-ATWLPPR exhibited enhanced in vitro photodynamic activity (10.4-fold), compared to TPC. Pharmacokinetic analysis in nude mice xenografted with U87 human malignant glioma cells revealed relevant tumor levels as soon as 1 h after intravenous injection of TPC-Ahx-ATWLPPR, and a rapid elimination from the blood compartment. Moreover, TPC-Ahx-ATWLPPR was not degraded in vivo up to 2 h after intravenous injection. Taken together, our results demonstrate that TPC-Ahx-ATWLPPR is a much more potent photosensitizer in vitro than TPC, in NRP-1-expressing cells. Thus, it may efficiently potentiate the vascular effect of PDT in vivo. This article was published in J Control Release and referenced in Journal of Cytology & Histology

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