Introduction: Platelet transfusion and transplantation of allogeneic stem cells and solid organs are life-saving therapies. Unwanted alloantibodies to non-self human leukocyte antigens (HLA) on donor cells increase the immunological barrier to these therapies and are important causes of platelet transfusion refractoriness and graft rejection. Although the specificities of anti-HLA antibodies can be determined at the allelic level, traditional treatments for antibody-mediated rejection non-selectively suppress humoral immunity and are not universally successful.
Methods: We designed HLA-Fc fusion proteins with a bivalent targeting module derived from extracellular domains of HLA and an Fc effector module from mouse IgG2a. We characterized the biochemical properties and function of these fusion proteins in vitro and in vivo.
Results: We found that HLA-Fc with A2 (A2Fc) and B7 (B7Fc) antigens lowered HLA-A2- and HLA-B7-specific reactivities, respectively, in sera from HLA-sensitized patients. A2Fc and B7Fc bound to B cell hybridomas bearing surface immunoglobulins with cognate specificities and triggered antigen-specific and Fc-dependent cytotoxicity in vitro. In immunodeficient mice carrying HLA-A2-specific hybridoma cells, A2Fc treatment lowered circulating anti-HLA-A2 levels, abolished the outgrowth of hybridoma cells, and prolonged survival compared to control groups. In an in vivo anti-HLA-A2 mediated platelet transfusion refractoriness model, A2Fc treatment mitigated refractoriness.
Impact: These results support HLA-Fc as a novel strategy for antigen-specific humoral suppression to improve transfusion and transplantation outcomes. With the long-term goal of targeting HLA-specific memory B cells for desensitization, further studies of HLA-Fc’s efficacy in immune-competent animal models and human specimens are warranted.
Organization: Washington University in St. Louis
Webber AM, Bradstreet TR, Wang X, Guo H, Nelson CA, Fremont DH, Edelson BT, Liu C