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J Pharm Sci. 2012 May;101(5):1678-87. doi: 10.1002/jps.23056. Epub 2012 Jan 13.

Aggregation and pH-temperature phase behavior for aggregates of an IgG2 antibody.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware 19716, USA.


Monomer unfolding and thermally accelerated aggregation kinetics to produce soluble oligomers or insoluble macroscopic aggregates were characterized as a function of pH for an IgG2 antibody using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and size-exclusion chromatography (SEC). Aggregate size was quantified via laser light scattering, and aggregate solubility via turbidity and visual inspection. Interestingly, nonnative oligomers were soluble at pH 5.5 above approximately 15°C, but converted reversibly to visible/insoluble particles at lower temperatures. Lower pH values yielded only soluble aggregates, whereas higher pH resulted in insoluble aggregates, regardless of the solution temperature. Unlike the growing body of literature that supports the three-endotherm model of IgG1 unfolding in DSC, the results here also illustrate limitations of that model for other monoclonal antibodies. Comparison of DSC with monomer loss (via SEC) from samples during thermal scanning indicates that the least conformationally stable domain is not the most aggregation prone, and that a number of the domains remain intact within the constituent monomers of the resulting aggregates. This highlights continued challenges with predicting a priori which domain(s) or thermal transition(s) is(are) most relevant for product stability with respect to aggregation.

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