The two naturally occurring forms of ricin A chain, Mr 33,000 and Mr 30,000 (RTA33 and RTA30) have been purified, and their chemical compositions, toxicities, and tissue distributions have been determined. As reported previously, the in vitro and in vivo toxicities of RTA30 and RTA33 are similar. However, RTA30, which contains less carbohydrate with a lower mannose content than RTA33, accumulated less in the liver than did RTA33. Monoconjugate immunotoxins (i.e., containing one RTA per monoclonal antibody molecule) were constructed between RTA30 or RTA33 and the antitumor monoclonal antibody 791T/36, which recognizes a Mr 72,000 antigen on osteosarcoma and colon carcinoma cells. The two immunotoxins had similar cytoxicities in vitro but differed substantially in their pharmacokinetics and tissue distributions in vivo in nude mice bearing C170 human colorectal carcinoma xenografts. The immunotoxin derived from RTA30 (IT30) accumulated less in the liver than the immunotoxin derived from RTA33 (IT33) and cleared more slowly from the blood; the α and β half-lives for IT30 and IT33 were 0.50 and 20.5 versus 0.17 and 14.6 h, respectively. As a probable consequence, IT30 accumulated to approximately 3-fold higher levels in the C170 xenografts than IT33. The reduced clearance of IT30 by the reticuloendothelial system thus resulted in prolonged survival in the blood and enhanced tumor localization relative to IT33.

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