Immunogenicity of therapeutic proteins: Influence of aggregation

Kirsty D. Ratanji, Jeremy P. Derrick, Rebecca J. Dearman, Ian Kimber

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The elicitation of anti-drug antibodies (ADA) against biotherapeutics can have detrimental effects on drug safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetics. The immunogenicity of biotherapeutics is, therefore, an important issue. There is evidence that protein aggregation can result in enhanced immunogenicity; however, the precise immunological and biochemical mechanisms responsible are poorly defined. In the context of biotherapeutic drug development and safety assessment, understanding the mechanisms underlying aggregate immunogenicity is of considerable interest. This review provides an overview of the phenomenon of protein aggregation, the production of unwanted aggregates during bioprocessing, and how the immune response to aggregated protein differs from that provoked by non-aggregated protein. Of particular interest is the nature of the interaction of aggregates with the immune system and how subsequent ADA responses are induced. Pathways considered here include 'classical' activation of the immune system involving antigen presenting cells and, alternatively, the breakdown of B-cell tolerance. Additionally, methods available to screen for aggregation and immunogenicity will be described. With an increased understanding of aggregation-enhanced immune responses, it may be possible to develop improved manufacturing and screening processes to avoid, or at least reduce, the problems associated with ADA. © 2014 Informa Healthcare USA, Inc. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)99-109
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of immunotoxicology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


    • Aggregation
    • Anti-drug antibodies
    • Bioprocessing
    • Biotherapeutic
    • Immunogenicity


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