A conjugate with specific binding to the epidermal growth factor receptor, EGFR, and of interest for clinical tests was prepared using mouse epidermal growth factor, mEGF, and dextran. The mEGF was first coupled to dextran by reductive amination in which the free amino group on the N-terminal of mEGF was reacted with the aldehyde group on the reductive end of the dextran chain. The end-end coupled intermediate was further activated by the cyanopyridinium agent CDAP and tyrosines introduced to the dextran part of the conjugate. The mEGF-dextran-tyrosine conjugate was, with high efficiency, iodinated with the chloramine-T method. Approximately 25-35% of the radioactivity could be removed from the conjugate after exposure to protease K while 65-75% of the radioactivity could be removed after exposure to dextranase. Thus, the largest amount of the iodine was on the dextran part of the conjugate. The iodinated mEGF-dextran-tyrosine had EGFR specific binding since the binding to an EGFR rich human glioma cell line could be displaced by an excess of non-radioactive mEGF. The conjugate was to a large extent internalized in these cells and the administrated radioactivity was thereby retained inside the cells for at least up to 50 h.
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