Nature Biomedical Engineering 5, pages387–398 (2021)
Prolonged residence of an albumin–IL-4 fusion protein in secondary lymphoid organs ameliorates experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis
Ishihara A, Ishihara J#, Watkins EA, Tremain AC, Nguyen M, Solanki A, Katsumata K, Mansurov A, Budina E, Alpar AT, Hosseinchi P, Maillat L, Reda JW, Kageyama T, Swartz MA, Yuba E, Hubbell JA#
Interleukin-4 (IL-4) suppresses the development of multiple sclerosis in a murine model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Here, we show that, in mice with EAE, the accumulation and persistence in the lymph nodes and spleen of a systemically administered serum albumin (SA)–IL-4 fusion protein leads to higher efficacy in preventing disease development than the administration of wild-type IL-4 or of the clinically approved drug fingolimod. We also show that the SA–IL-4 fusion protein prevents immune-cell infiltration in the spinal cord, decreases integrin expression in antigen-specific CD4+ T cells, increases the number of granulocyte-like myeloid-derived suppressor cells (and their expression of programmed-death-ligand-1) in spinal cord-draining lymph nodes and decreases the number of T helper 17 cells, a pathogenic cell population in EAE. In mice with chronic EAE, SA–IL-4 inhibits immune-cell infiltration into the spinal cord and completely abrogates immune responses to myelin antigen in the spleen. The SA–IL-4 fusion protein may be prophylactically and therapeutically advantageous in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.