Title: Use of prosaposin and peptides obtained therefrom
for treatment of neural degeneration
United States Patent: 6,559,124
Issued: May 6, 2003
Inventors: O'Brien; John S. (San Diego, CA); Kishimoto;
Yasuo (San Diego, CA)
Assignee: Myelos Corporation (Iselin, NJ)
Appl. No.: 076258
Filed: May 12, 1998
Prosaposin, saposin C and various peptide fragments of saposin C
stimulate neurite outgrowth in vitro. In addition, prosaposin and saposin C
promote increased myelination ex vivo. Prosaposin is present in large
neurons of the brain, including both upper and lower motor neurons.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
This invention discloses our discovery that prosaposin, saposin C or a
peptide comprising amino acids 8-29 of saposin C can be used to stimulate
neurite outgrowth and to promote increased myelination.
Prosaposin or its derivatives possess significant therapeutic applications
in promoting functional recovery after toxic, traumatic, ischemic,
degenerative and inherited lesions to the peripheral and central nervous
system. In addition, prosaposin or its derivatives may be used to
counteract the effects of demyelinating diseases.
Prosaposin and its derivatives are known to be present in many types of
neurons, are water soluble (in contrast to glycosphingolipids) and are
less immunogenic than ganglioside micelles since for therapy in humans the
human sequence will be used which will not elicit an immune response.
Human prosaposin has the amino acid sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO:2.
Saposin C has the amino acid sequence set forth in SEQ ID NO:3. The human
cDNA sequence for prosaposin is set forth in SEQ ID NO:4. An active 18-mer
fragment derived from the active 22-mer fragment (SEQ ID NO: 1) is set
forth as SEQ ID NO: 5.
As will be discussed in more specific detail in the Examples, prosaposin,
saposin C and amino acids of saposin C that include at least amino acids
8-29 of SEQ ID NO: 3 A are active as neurotrophic factors. In addition, a
peptide including at least amino acids 12-29 (with a tyrosine substituted
for valine at position 12A SEQ ID NO: 5) is also an active neurotrophic
factor. Similar active peptides, also within the scope of this invention,
can be prepared and screened as described herein (See Example 2). These
proteins and peptides stimulate the outgrowth of neurites, promote
myelination and prevent programmed cell death in neuronal tissues.
One aspect of the present invention is a method for facilitating outgrowth
of neurites in differentiated or undifferentiated neural cells. This
method requires administration of an effective, neurite-outgrowth
facilitating amount of prosaposin, saposin C, or the 18 or 22 amino acid
fragment thereof to the cells in question. A typical minimum amount of
prosaposin for the neurotrophic factor activity in cell growth medium is
usually at least about 1.4x10-11 M, or about 10 ng/ml. This
amount or more of saposin C or its active 18 or 22 amino acid fragments
may also be used. Usually concentrations in the range of 0.1 .mu.g/ml to
about 10 .mu.g/ml of any of these materials will be used. Effective
amounts for any particular tissue can be determined in accordance with
The neural cells can be treated in vitro or ex vivo by directly
administering the neurotrophic factor of the present invention to the
cells. This can be done, for example, by culturing the cells in growth
medium suitable for the particular cell type followed by addition of the
neurotrophic factor to the medium.
When the cells to be treated are in vivo, typically in a vertebrate,
preferably a mammal or a bird, the composition can be administered to the
cells to be treated by one of several techniques. Most preferably, the
composition can be injected directly into the blood in sufficient quantity
to give the desired concentration of neurotrophic factor since an
iodinated 18-mer peptide consisting of amino acids 12-29 of the 22-mer
with a substitution of tyrosine for valine at amino acid 12 (M.W=2000)
crosses the blood brain barrier and enters the central nervous system as
described in Example 7 (see Banks et al., (1992) Peptides, 13: 1289-1294).
The uptake by the brain was approximately 0.03% which is in the midrange
of values for peptides of that approximate size which will cross the blood
brain barrier. This is the only neurotrophic factor so far described which
will cross the blood brain barrier when administered intravenously.
Direct intracranial injection or injection into the cerebrospinal fluid
may also be used in sufficient quantities to give the desired local
concentration of neurotrophin. In both cases, a pharmaceutically
acceptable injectable carrier of well known type can be used. Such
carriers include, for example, phosphate buffered saline (PBS).
Alternatively, the composition can be administered to peripheral neural
tissue by direct local injection or by systemic administration. Various
conventional modes of administration are contemplated, including
intravenous, intramuscular, intradermal, subcutaneous, intracranial,
epidural, topical and oral administration.
The composition can be packaged and administered in unit dosage form such
as an injectable composition or local preparation in a dosage amount
equivalent to the daily dosage administered to a patient or as a
controlled release composition. A septum sealed vial containing a daily
dose of the active ingredient in either PBS or in lyophilized form is an
example of a unit dosage.
Since the molecular weight of the active 22-mer is approximately 2600, and
an iodinated 18-mer contained within this sequence will cross the blood
brain barrier, then the 22-mer will also most likely cross and enter the
central nervous system (Banks et al., (1992) Peptides, 13: 1289-1294).
Appropriate daily systemic dosages based on the body weight of the
vertebrate are in the range of from about 10 to about 100 .mu.g/kg,
although dosages from about 0.1 to about 1000 .mu.g/kg are also
contemplated. Daily dosages of locally administered material will be about
an order of magnitude less. Oral administration may be possible if the
peptide is stable to gastrointestinal degradation and readily absorbed.
In one preferred embodiment of the invention, the neurotrophic factor is
administered locally to the neural cells in vivo by implantation of the
material. For example, polylactic acid, polygalactic acid, regenerated
collagen, multilamellar liposomes and many other conventional depot
formulations comprise bioerodible or biodegradable materials that can be
formulated with biologically active compositions. These materials, when
implanted, gradually break down and release the active material to the
surrounding tissue. The use of bioerodible, biodegradable and other depot
formulations is expressly contemplated in the present invention. Infusion
pumps, matrix entrapment systems, and combination with transdermal
delivery devices are also contemplated.
The neurotrophic factors of the present invention may also advantageously
be enclosed in micelles or liposomes. Liposome encapsulation technology is
well known. Liposomes may be targeted to specific tissue, such as neural
tissue, through the use of receptors, ligands or antibodies capable of
binding the targeted tissue. The preparation of these formulations is well
known in the art (i.e., Radin and Metz, (1983) Methods Enzymol., 98:
There are currently no available pharmaceuticals able to promote full
functional regeneration and restoration of structural integrity of neural
systems. This is particularly true of the central nervous system.
Regeneration of peripheral nerves through use of neurotrophic factors is a
more immediately demonstrable goal. Such treatment is within the scope of
this invention. Moreover, neurotrophic factors can be therapeutically
useful in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases associated with the
degeneration of neural populations or specific areas of the brain. The
principal cause of Parkinson's disease is the degeneration of dopaminergic
neurons of the substantia nigra. Since antibodies against prosaposin
immunohistochemically stain the dopaminergic neurons of the substantia
nigra in human brain sections, prosaposin and its active fragments may be
therapeutically useful in the treatment of Parkinson's disease.
It has long been believed that in order to reach neuronal populations in
the brain, neurotrophic factors would have to be administered
intracerebrally, since these proteins do not cross the blood-brain
barrier. However, as previously mentioned, the active iodinated 18-mer
will cross and the active 22-mer will most likely cross this barrier and
would thus be administered intravenously. Other neuronal populations, such
as motor neurons, would also be treated by intravenous injection, although
direct injection into the cerebrospinal fluid is also envisioned as an
Cells may be treated to facilitate myelin formation or to prevent
demyelination in the manner described above, both in vitro, ex vivo and in
vivo. There are several diseases that result in demyelination of nerve
fibers including multiple sclerosis, acute disseminated leukoencephalitis,
progressive multifocal leukoencephalitis, metachromatic leukodystrophy and
adrenal leukodystrophy. These diseases can be treated, and the progression
of the demyelination can be slowed or halted, by administration of the
neurotrophic factors of the present invention to the cells affected by the
The compositions of the present invention can be used in vitro as research
tools for studying the effects of neurotrophic factors and myelin
facilitating materials. However, more practically, they have an immediate
use as laboratory reagents and components of cell growth media in order to
better enable growth of neural cells in vitro.
The prosaposin used in the present invention may be obtained from various
sources, and may be, for example, naturally occurring protein isolated
from human milk or seminal plasma or recombinant human prosaposin purified
from spent media of Spodoptera frugiperda (Sf9) cells infected with a
baculovirus expression vector containing full-length cDNA for human
prosaposin as described (Dewji et al., (1987) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA,
84: 8652-8656). O'Brien et al., (1988) Science, 241: 1098-1101); Hiraiwa
et al., (1993) Arch. Biochem. Biophys., 304, 110-116). Saposin C is
isolated in pure form from spleens of patients with Gaucher disease, a
lysosomal storage disorder (Morimoto et al., (1990) Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.
USA, 87: 3493-3497). Saposin C (80 amino acids) can also be chemically
synthesized and refolded (Weiler et al., (1993) J. Mol. Neurosci., in
The peptides corresponding to sequences within saposin C may be
synthesized using an automated solid-phase protocol on an Applied
Biosystems Model 430 peptide synthesizer. After synthesis, peptides 1-40,
41-82, 1-27, 13-34 and 21-48 are desalted on a Sephadex G-75 column prior
Claim 1 of 4 Claims
What is claimed is:
1. A method for increasing the survival of retina in a patient in need
thereof comprising the step of administering to the patient an amount of
prosaposin or a neurotrophic fragment comprising amino acids 8-29 of SEQ
ID NO:3, wherein said amount is sufficient to increase the survival of the
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