Because of its multifaceted anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects, delivering type-I interferon to Kupffer cells has the potential to function as a novel type of therapy for the treatment of various types of hepatitis. We report herein on the preparation of a Kupffer cell targeting type-I interferon, an albumin-IFNα2b fusion protein that contains highly mannosylated N-linked oligosaccharide chains, Man-HSA(D494N)-IFNα2b, attached by combining albumin fusion technology and site-directed mutagenesis. The presence of this unique oligosaccharide permits the protein to be efficiently, rapidly and preferentially distributed to Kupffer cells. Likewise IFNα2b, Man-HSA(D494N)-IFNα2b caused a significant induction in the mRNA levels of IL-10, IL-1Ra, PD-L1 in RAW264.7 cells and mouse isolated Kupffer cells, and these inductions were largely inhibited by blocking the interferon receptor. These data indicate that Man-HSA(D494N)-IFNα2b retained the biological activities of type-I interferon. Man-HSA(D494N)-IFNα2b significantly inhibited liver injury in Concanavalin A (Con-A)-induced hepatitis model mice, and consequently improved their survival rate. Moreover, the post-administration of Man-HSA(D494N)-IFNα2b at 2 h after the Con-A challenge also exerted hepato-protective effects. In conclusion, this proof-of-concept study demonstrates the therapeutic effectiveness and utility of Kupffer cell targeting type-I interferon against hepatitis via its anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory actions.
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