An improved in vivo body weight gain bioassay for the potency determination of human growth hormone (hGH) has been set up in "little" mice (lit/lit), a mutant derived from the C57BL/6J strain. This improved assay now has a detection limit of the order of 0.05 micrograms/mouse/day, which corresponds to a sensitivity about 20-fold higher than that of the most sensitive in vivo assay reported up to now: the tibia test in hypophysectomized rats or mice. This sensitivity was achieved mainly by introduction of a careful pre-assay selection and of a three injections per day schedule. The utilization of these conditions in a 2x2 factorial assay design allowed the potency determination of recombinant DNA-derived hGH (rec-hGH) in bacterial extracts with acceptable accuracy and precision, together with the greatest economy of material, only 0.24 mg of unknown and standard hormone preparation being sufficient for an entire 10-animal assay. This contrasts to a minimum of 2.7 mg that are necessary for an economical assay in hypophysectomized rats. The same assay procedure was also used to demonstrate the in vivo bioactivity of hGH secreted into a culture medium from transduced human primary keratinocytes. The growth curve constructed with n = 8 little mice presented a highly significant correlation (r = 0.939, p < 0.001) and a slope = 0.016 g/mouse/day. It was thus possible to prove, for the first time, the in vivo bioactivity of rec-hGH secreted by transplantable human epidermal cells, utilized as an experimental model for somatic gene therapy.
Ultrasensitive in vivo bioassay detects bioactive human growth hormone in transduced primary human keratinocytes / Bellini, M. H; Mathor, M. B; DE LUCA, Michele; Cancedda, R; Bartolini, P.. - In: JOURNAL OF ENDOCRINOLOGICAL INVESTIGATION. - ISSN 0391-4097. - 21:(1998), pp. 1-6. [10.1007/BF03347278]