Current treatments for allergies include epinephrine and antihistamines, which treat the symptoms after an allergic response has taken place; steroids, which result in local and systemic immune suppression; and IgE-depleting therapies, which can be used only for a narrow range of clinical IgE titers. The limitations of current treatments motivated the design of a heterobivalent inhibitor (HBI) of IgE-mediated allergic responses that selectively inhibits allergen-IgE interactions, thereby preventing IgE clustering and mast cell degranulation. The HBI was designed to simultaneously target the allergen binding site and the adjacent conserved nucleotide binding site (NBS) found on the Fab of IgE Abs. The bivalent targeting was accomplished by linking a hapten to an NBS ligand with an ethylene glycol linker. The hapten moiety of HBI enables selective targeting of a specific IgE, whereas the NBS ligand enhances avidity for the IgE. Simultaneous bivalent binding to both sites provided HBI with 120-fold enhancement in avidity for the target IgE compared with the monovalent hapten. The increased avidity for IgE made HBI a potent inhibitor of mast cell degranulation in the rat basophilic leukemia mast cell model, in the passive cutaneous anaphylaxis mouse model of allergy, and in mice sensitized to the model allergen. In addition, HBI did not have any observable systemic toxic effects even at elevated doses. Taken together, these results establish the HBI design as a broadly applicable platform with therapeutic potential for the targeted and selective inhibition of IgE-mediated allergic responses, including food, environmental, and drug allergies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy