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J Immunol Methods. 2015 Sep;424:91-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2015.05.006. Epub 2015 May 23.

A novel immunoassay to measure total serum lymphotoxin-α levels in the presence of an anti-LTα therapeutic antibody.

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Department of Biochemical and Cellular Pharmacology, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Biochemical and Cellular Pharmacology, USA.
Department of BioAnalytical Sciences, USA.
Department of Antibody Engineering, USA.
Department of Early Development Pharmacokinetics/Pharmacodynamics, USA.
Department of Immunology, USA.


During drug development, measurement of suitable pharmacodynamic biomarkers is key to establishing in vivo drug activity. Binding of monoclonal antibody (mAb) therapeutics to soluble target proteins often results in elevated serum levels of their target antigen, and measuring total (free and bound) concentration of the target antigen can be an important means of demonstrating that the mAb has reached its specific target. However, accurately measuring soluble circulating antigen in preclinical or clinical samples in the presence of a therapeutic mAb presents a bioanalytical challenge. Particularly in the case of low molecular weight and/or multimeric targets, epitopes for capture and detection of the target by reagent antibodies can be obscured by bound therapeutic mAb. Lymphotoxin-alpha (LTα) is a cytokine in the TNF superfamily that has been implicated in the pathophysiology of autoimmune disease, and is a therapeutic target for neutralizing mAb. During preclinical safety studies in cynomolgus macaques, we encountered difficulties in measuring total LTα in serum of dosed animals. When serum LTα trimer was saturated with the anti-LTα mAb, binding of two reagent antibodies, as required for a classic sandwich ELISA, was not feasible, and dissociation methods were also found to be unsuitable. We therefore developed an approach in which excess anti-LTα mAb was added to the in vitro assay system to fully saturate all binding sites, and an anti-idiotypic antibody was used to detect bound therapeutic antibody. Using this method, total LTα could be accurately measured in cynomolgus macaque serum, and was observed to increase with increasing anti-LTα therapeutic mAb dose. Additional in vitro studies demonstrated that the method worked equally well in human serum. This assay strategy will be useful for quantifying total concentrations of other small and/or multimeric target proteins in the presence of a therapeutic antibody.


Biomarker; Lymphotoxin-alpha; Monoclonal antibody; Pharmacodynamics; Pharmacokinetics

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