Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley
Nanomedicines and macromolecular drugs can induce hypersensitivity reactions (HSRs) with symptoms ranging from flushing and breathing difficulties to hypothermia, hypotension, and death in the most severe cases. Because many normal individuals have pre-existing antibodies that bind to poly(ethylene glycol) (PEG), which is often present on the surface of nanomedicines and macromolecular drugs, we examined if and how anti-PEG antibodies induce HSRs to PEGylated liposomal doxorubicin (PLD). Anti-PEG IgG but not anti-PEG IgM induced symptoms of HSRs including hypothermia, altered lung function, and hypotension after PLD administration in C57BL/6 and nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficiency (NOD/SCID) mice. Hypothermia was significantly reduced by blocking FcγRII/III, by depleting basophils, monocytes, neutrophils, or mast cells, and by inhibiting secretion of histamine and platelet-activating factor. Anti-PEG IgG also induced hypothermia in mice after administration of other PEGylated liposomes, nanoparticles, or proteins. Humanized anti-PEG IgG promoted binding of PEGylated nanoparticles to human immune cells and induced secretion of histamine from human basophils in the presence of PLD. Anti-PEG IgE could also induce hypersensitivity reactions in mice after administration of PLD. Our results demonstrate an important role for IgG antibodies in induction of HSRs to PEGylated nanomedicines through interaction with Fcγ receptors on innate immune cells and provide a deeper understanding of HSRs to PEGylated nanoparticles and macromolecular drugs that may facilitate development of safer nanomedicines.