Rat immunoglobulin (IgG) was covalently bound to N-(2-hydroxypropyl)methacrylamide (HPMA) copolymers via glycylglycyl spacer. The resultant conjugate, free IgG and HPMA copolymer (containing a low percentage of tyrosinamide to facilitate radiolabelling) were radioiodinated, and their rates of pinocytic uptake, intracellular degradation and exocytic release by rat visceral yolk sacs cultured in vitro were determined. Free IgG was pinocytosed rapidly by the yolk sac and some IgG was subject to intracellular proteolysis. In comparison the IgG-HPMA copolymer conjugate was captured more slowly, but faster than unmodified HPMA. IgG was also exocytosed rapidly by the yolk sac following pinocytic capture and similarly IgG-HPMA copolymer had a much higher rate of release than unmodified H PMA. Measurement of tissue accumulation of125I-labelled IgG-H PMA copolymer in the presence of increasing concentrations of non-radiolabelled IgG showed competition for membrane binding sites between the free, and polymer-bound immunoglobulin. These experiments indicate that immunoglobulins can be covalently bound to a soluble polymer developed as a drug-carrier in such a way that they can still interact with specific membrane receptors and they are subsequently subjected to specific cellular transport mechanisms.

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