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MAbs. 2012 Sep-Oct;4(5):578-85. doi: 10.4161/mabs.21328. Epub 2012 Jul 23.

Chromatographic analysis of the acidic and basic species of recombinant monoclonal antibodies.

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  • 1Merck Research Laboratories, Union, NJ, USA.


The existence of multiple variants with differences in either charge, molecular weight or other properties is a common feature of monoclonal antibodies. These charge variants are generally referred to as acidic or basic compared with the main species. The chemical nature of the main species is usually well-understood, but understanding the chemical nature of acidic and basic species, and the differences between all three species, is critical for process development and formulation design. Complete understanding of acidic and basic species, however, is challenging because both species are known to contain multiple modifications, and it is likely that more modifications may be discovered. This review focuses on the current understanding of the modifications that can result in the generation of acidic and basic species and their affect on antibody structure, stability and biological functions. Chromatography elution profiles and several critical aspects regarding fraction collection and sample preparations necessary for detailed characterization are also discussed.

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