Oral Delivery of Bioencapsulated Proteins Across Blood–Brain and Blood–Retinal Barriers
Delivering neurotherapeutics to target brain-associated diseases is a major challenge. Therefore, we investigated oral delivery of green fluorescence protein (GFP) or myelin basic protein (MBP) fused with the transmucosal carrier cholera toxin B subunit (CTB), expressed in chloroplasts (bioencapsulated within plant cells) to the brain and retinae of triple transgenic Alzheimer's disease (3×TgAD) mice, across the blood–brain barriers (BBB) and blood–retinal barriers (BRB). Human neuroblastoma cells internalized GFP when incubated with CTB-GFP but not with GFP alone. Oral delivery of CTB-MBP in healthy and 3×TgAD mice shows increased MBP levels in different regions of the brain, crossing intact BBB. Thioflavin S–stained amyloid plaque intensity was reduced up to 60% by CTB-MBP incubation with human AD and 3×TgAD mice brain sections ex vivo. Amyloid loads were reduced in vivo by 70% in hippocampus and cortex brain regions of 3×TgAD mice fed with bioencapsulated CTB-MBP, along with reduction in the ratio of insoluble amyloid β 42 (Aβ42) to soluble fractions. CTB-MBP oral delivery reduced Aβ42 accumulation in retinae and prevented loss of retinal ganglion cells in 3×TgAD mice. Lyophilization of leaves increased CTB-MBP concentration by 17-fold and stabilized it during long-term storage in capsules, facilitating low-cost oral delivery of therapeutic proteins across the BBB and BRB.