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Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2015;28(2):103-13. doi: 10.1159/000362174. Epub 2014 Nov 13.

Evaluation of the immunogenicity of the synthetic α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) analogue afamelanotide ([Nle4-D-Phe7]-α-MSH, Scenesse®) in erythropoietic protoporphyria patients by ELISA detecting both anti-afamelanotide and anti-α-MSH antibodies.

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Unilabs Dr. Weber, St. Gallen, Switzerland.


Afamelanotide is an α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH) agonist with proven efficacy in photodermatoses such as erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP). This peptide drug, repeatedly administered over prolonged time, may induce anti-drug antibodies (ADA). Here, we describe a new ELISA method developed to monitor the occurrence of ADA against afamelanotide as well as against α-MSH. Covalent binding instead of absorption of antigen onto the microtitre wells prevented antigen leakage and enabled extensive washings followed by lower background. The cut-off between antibody-negative and -positive sera was determined. Inhibition of the antigen-antibody reaction by excess soluble antigen tested for specificity. The sensitivity of the ELISA was 608 and 1,390 ng/ml of specific ADA against afamelanotide and α-MSH, respectively. This ELISA method enabled us to investigate the occurrence of ADA during long-term administration of afamelanotide. No immunoreactivity was found in 23 of the 26 EPP patients exposed to the drug for up to 6 years. Pre-existing immunoreactivity against afamelanotide as well as α-MSH was found in 3 patients, whose titres did not change during afamelanotide administration.


The new ELISA is suitable to determine ADA against afamelanotide and α-MSH. Afamelanotide did not elicit ADA during long-term administration in patients with EPP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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