Background. In the last years, plants are being used for the production of a wide variety of biopharmaceuticals, including cytokines, and have the potential to serve as vehicles for mucosal administration of these molecules. We had previously reported the expression of a cytokine, interleukin-12 (IL-12), in transgenic tomato plants and had demonstrated that it retained its biologic activity in vitro. Findings. In this work, we administered crude extracts of IL-12-containing tomato fruits to mice through the intratracheal route, measuring endogenous IL-12 and determining biologic activity by quantification of interferon-gamma (IFN-) in lungs and by histological analysis. IFN- expression in lungs, as well as histological analysis, indicate that tomato-expressed IL-12 retains its biologic activity and, most importantly, its effects are restricted to the site of administration. Conclusion. Our results indicate that the functional activity of tomato-expressed IL-12 is comparable to that of commercial recombinant IL-12 when given via the mucosal route. This opens the possibility of using crude extracts prepared from tomatoes expressing IL-12 for certain immunotherapies.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)