Covalent polymyxin B conjugate with human immunoglobulin G as an antiendotoxin reagent

Joseph J. Drabick, Apurba K. Bhattacharjee, David L. Hoover, George E. Siber, Vivian E. Morales, Lynnette D. Young, Scott L. Brown, Alan S. Cross

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42 Scopus citations


Polymyxin B (PMB) is a cyclic decapeptide antibiotic which also binds and neutralizes endotoxin. Unfortunately, PMB can be considerably nephrotoxic at clinically utilized doses, thereby limiting its utility as a therapeutic antiendotoxin reagent. We sought to change the pharmacokinetics and toxicity profile of PMB by covalently linking it to a human immunoglobulin G (IgG) carrier. Conjugates of PMB with IgG were prepared by EDAC [1-ethyl-3-(3- dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide]-mediated amide formation. Analysis by dot enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay with an anti-PMB monoclonal antibody showed that the purified conjugate contained bound PMB. The IgG-PMB conjugate reacted with lipid A and J5 lipopolysaccharide in Western blot assays in a manner comparable to that of whole antiserum with anti-lipid A reactivity; unconjugated IgG had no reactivity. The PMB bound in the conjugate retained its endotoxin-neutralizing activity compared to that of unbound PMB as evidenced by its dose-dependent inhibition of tumor necrosis factor release by endotoxin-stimulated human monocytes in vitro; unconjugated IgG had no activity. By this assay, the PMB-IgG conjugate was determined to have approximately 3.0 μg of bound functional PMB per 100 μg of total protein of conjugate (five molecules of PMB per IgG molecule). The PMB-IgG conjugate was also bactericidal against clinical strains of Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Klebsiella pneumoniae relative to unconjugated IgG with MBCs of <4 μg of conjugate per ml for each of the tested strains. The conjugate appeared to be nontoxic at the highest doses deliverable and provided statistically significant protection from death to galactosamine-sensitized, lipopolysaccharide-challenged mice in a dose-dependent fashion when administered prophylactically 2 h before challenge. However, neither free PMB nor the PMB-IgG conjugate could protect mice challenged with endotoxin 2 h after administration. This suggests that these reagents can play a role in prophylaxis but not in therapy of sepsis. These experiments demonstrated that the PMB-IgG conjugate retains bound yet functional PMB as evidenced by its endotoxin-neutralizing activity both in vitro and in vivo. Further work is required to define the role that this or related conjugate compounds may play in the prophylaxis of endotoxin-mediated disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-588
Number of pages6
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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