Advertisement

T-cell assays confirm immunogenicity of tungsten-induced erythropoietin aggregates associated with pure red cell aplasia

Tina Rubic-Schneider, Masataka Kuwana, Brigitte Christen, Manuela Aßenmacher, Otmar Hainzl, Frank Zimmermann, Robert Fischer, Vera Koppenburg, Salah-Dine Chibout, Timothy M. Wright, Andreas Seidl and Michael Kammüller

Data supplements

Article Figures & Data

Figures

  • Figure 1.

    Anti-rhEPO antibody response: specificity and IgG subclasses. The baseline on each SPR-based biosensor immunoassay sensorgram represents a signal derived from EPO immobilized to the SPR chip surface, prior to injection of patient sample P1 at t = 0 seconds. “P1 binding” represents material remaining bound after injection of patient sample (as indicated). (A) Verification of rhEPO specificity of patient P1 serum. Injection of 1:10 diluted patient serum (upper line) compared with patient serum spiked with 10 μg/mL rhEPO (lower line), which resulted in 91% relative signal decrease compared to 2 minutes after end of serum injection, demonstrating rhEPO specificity of the P1 patient serum sample. (B) Antibody isotyping: injection of patient sample followed by serial injection of anti-IgM, anti-IgE, and anti-IgG. Only IgG shows significant signal increase (>300%, suggesting multiple binding of the polyclonal anti–human-IgG antibody), confirming ADA as an IgG class molecule. (C) Antibody subclass determination: injection of patient sample followed by serial injection of anti-IgG3: no signal increase (9% signal decrease 2 minutes after end of injection); anti-IgG2: minor increase (8% increase); and anti-IgG1 (strong signal increase of 61% confirming the presence of IgG1 in sample P1). (D) Antibody subclass determination: injection of patient sample followed by injection of anti-IgG4 (25% increase, confirming the presence of IgG4 in sample P1). inj, injection; RU, resonance units; s, seconds; t, time.

  • Figure 2.

    T-cell responses differentiate nonaggregated from heat-aggregated rhEPO. (A) T cells from HLA-typed HX575-naïve healthy donors (n = 24) were primed with either nonstressed or heat-stressed HX575, and restimulated with either nonstressed or heat-stressed HX575, respectively (for individual SI data and HLA-haplotypes, see supplemental Table 1). Donors whose T cells responded to heat-stressed HX575 were categorized as “responders” (closed red circles), whereas those donors whose T cells did not respond to heat-stressed HX575 were categorized as “nonresponders” (open red circles). Two individuals showed responses to nonstressed rhEPO, possibly due to epitope spreading. (B) Representative experiment showing T-cell responses to heat-stressed HX575 (closed red circles), nonstressed HX575 (open blue circles), and TT (green squares). (C) Specificity of anti-HX575 T-cell responses was demonstrated by priming PBMCs from HX575-naïve healthy donors with either TT or heat-stressed HX575, and restimulation with either nonstressed, heat-stressed HX575, or TT.

  • Figure 3.

    TCL responses to heat-stressed but not to nonstressed HX575, EPO epitopes, and skewed TCR Vβ usage. (A) TCLs reactive to heat-stressed HX575 were generated from 2 HX575-naïve healthy HLA-DRB1*09:01-negative or -positive donors (donor 2 and donor 8, respectively). Three HX575-reactive TCLs were derived from each of these 2 donors (triangle: donor 2; rhombus: donor 8), which showed pronounced proliferative responses of the TCLs to heat-stressed but not to nonstressed HX575. (B-C) Identification of HX575 T-cell epitopes in donors 2 and 8, by testing TCL reactivity to 31 synthetic EPO peptides (15- or 16-mers) with 10-residue overlaps (Table 2); ctrl = heat-stressed HX575; a specific T-cell response shown as SI was calculated by a ratio of cell proliferation with individual stimuli divided by the cell proliferation with vehicle control; data presented as mean ± SEM; average responses of 3 heat-stressed HX575-specific TCLs from HLA-DRB1*09:01-negative donor 2 (B); average responses of 3 heat-stressed HX575-specific TCLs from HLA-DRB1*09:01-positive donor 8 (C). (D-G) Representative flow cytometric plots showing gating of CD4 T cells, and showing staining for 24 TCR-Vβ families; (D) TCL YS21 derived from HLA-DRB1*09:01-negative donor 2, showing single TCR Vβ22+ usage (to peptide 27); (E) TCL YS34 derived from HLA-DRB1*09:01-negative donor 2, showing single TCR Vβ8+ usage (to peptide 27); (F) TCL TH38 derived from HLA-DRB1*09:01-positive donor 8, showing single TCR Vβ2+ usage (to peptide 7); (G) TCL TH39 derived from HLA-DRB1*09:01-positive donor 8, showing single TCR Vβ13.2+ usage (to peptide 10). FSC, forward scatter; SEM, standard error of the mean; SSC, side scatter.

  • Figure 4.

    T-cell responses to rhEPO are HLA-DR or HLA-DQ restricted. (A) T cells from responders were primed and restimulated with heat-stressed HX575, and cultured in the presence (+) of isotype control, anti–HLA-DR, or anti–HLA-DQ antibody. HLA-DR and HLA-DQ restriction of T-cell responses to heat-stressed HX575 is shown in HLA-DRB1*09:01-positive (n = 2) and HLA-DRB1*09:01-negative (n = 3) healthy donors, respectively. (B) HLA-DR restriction of TCL responses to heat-stressed HX575 in HLA-DRB1*09:01-positive donor 8. (C) HLA-DQ restriction of TCL responses to heat-stressed HX575 in HLA-DRB1*09:01-negative donor 2. (D) HLA-DQ restriction of TCL responses to peptide 27 in HLA-DRB1*09:01-negative donor 2. A specific T-cell response shown as SI was calculated by a ratio of cell proliferation with individual stimuli divided by the cell proliferation with vehicle control.

  • Figure 5.

    T-cell responses differentiate nonaggregated from tungsten-aggregated rhEPO. (A) PBMCs from healthy donors were primed with TT, and restimulated with TT in the presence of 0, 1, or 10 ppm tungsten pin extracts; data presented as mean ± SEM. (B) T cells from 3 normal HX575-naïve healthy donors were primed with clinical lot A, a batch of heat-stressed HX575, or low-tungsten HX575, and restimulated with clinical lot A or B (red triangles), heat-stressed HX575 (red circles), or low-tungsten HX575 (blue triangles). (C) TCLs reactive with heat-stressed HX575, established from healthy HLA-DRB1*09:01-positive donor 8, were restimulated with clinical lot A or B (red triangles), low-tungsten HX575 (blue triangles), nonstressed HX575 (blue circles), or heat-stressed HX575 (red circles). A specific T-cell response shown as SI was calculated by a ratio of cell proliferation with individual stimuli divided by the cell proliferation with vehicle control. SEM, standard error of the mean.

  • Figure 6.

    Recall T-cell response confirms immunogenicity of tungsten-induced rhEPO aggregates associated with PRCA. (A) T cells obtained from 3 patients treated with HX575 during the clinical trial INJ-17 were incubated with nonstressed or heat-stressed HX575, or TT as control. (B) PBMCs obtained from 3 patients treated with HX575 during the clinical trial INJ-17 were incubated with clinical lot A or B, or TT as control in a short-term PBMC differentiation assay22; a specific T-cell response shown as SI was calculated by a ratio of cell proliferation with individual stimuli divided by the cell proliferation with vehicle control; treatments were performed in an anonymized manner.

  • Figure 7.

    Multifactorial etiology of rhEPO-induced PRCA. The complex interaction between various product-related and patient-related factors, including the formation of rhEPO aggregates, antigenic processing, and presentation of immunodominant epitopes by antigen-presenting cells, presence of specific HLA class II proteins capable of binding certain rhEPO peptides, and potentially other characteristics of EPO, together influence the immune response to rhEPO after subcutaneous injection, leading to rare cases of PRCA in susceptible patients.

Tables

  • Table 1.

    High-tungsten content clinical lots A and B, and experimentally heat-stressed HX575 contain increased HX575 aggregate levels

    HX575 batchesClinical batchesExperimental batches
    Lot A (260108)Lot B (270108)Heat-stressed HX575*Nonstressed HX575Low-tungsten HX575
    Monomers, %96.997.892.1100.0100.0
    Sum of higher-order aggregates and dimers, %3.12.27.9Not detectableNot detectable
     Dimers1.51.16.6Not detectableNot detectable
     Aggregates1.61.11.3Not detectableNot detectable
    Covalent aggregation, %‡0.30.25.8Not detectableNot detectable
    HX575 content, μg/mL81.582.284.084.087.6
    Tungsten quantification, ppm§2.42.90.60.60.06
    Neutralizing antibodiesYesYesN/AN/AN/A
    PRCANoYes (P1)12N/AN/AN/A
    • HX575 batch values obtained after pooling of screened syringes with high aggregation levels. See supplemental Text 1 for further details.

    • N/A, not applicable.

    • *Heat-stressed HX575 was obtained by incubation at 54°C for 3 days.

    • †Determined by size exclusion chromatography: sum of higher-order aggregates and dimers.

    • ‡Determined by C4-high performance liquid chromatography (C4 RP-HPLC): covalent aggregation. Approximately 10% of the total aggregation determined by size exclusion chromatography was of covalent nature.

    • §Determined by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry.

  • Table 2.

    Synthetic EPO 15- or 16-mer peptides (with 10 residue overlaps) able to stimulate human TCLs

    Peptide numberPeptide sequence
    1APPRL ICDSR VLERY
    2ICDSR VLERY LLEAK
    3VLERY LLEAK EAENI
    4LLEAK EAENI TTGCA
    5EAENI TTGCA EHCSL
    6TTGCA EHCSL NENIT
    7EHCSL NENIT VPDTK
    8NENIT VPDTK VNFYA
    9VPDTK VNFYA WKRME
    10VNFYA WKRME VGQQA
    11WKRME VGQQA VEVWQ
    12VGQQA VEVWQ GLALL
    13VEVWQ GLALL SEAVL
    14GLALL SEAVL RGQAL
    15SEAVL RGQAL LVNSS
    16RGQAL LVNSS QPWEP
    17LVNSS QPWEP LQLHV
    18QPWEP LQLHV DKAVS
    19LQLHV DKAVS GLRSL
    20DKAVS GLRSL TTLLR
    21GLRSL TTLLR ALGAQ
    22TTLLR ALGAQ KEAIS
    23ALGAQ KEAIS PPDAA
    24KEAIS PPDAA SAAPL
    25PPDAA SAAPL RTITA
    26SAAPL RTITA DTFRK
    27RTITA DTFRK LFRVY
    28DTFRK LFRVY SNFLR
    29LFRVY SNFLR GKLKL
    30SNFLR GKLKL YTGEA
    31GKLKL YTGEA CRTGD R
    • Amino acid sequence (single letter code) of rhEPO (contains 166 amino acid residues) with bold residues indicating the main immunogenic epitopes identified in this study: APPRL ICDSR VLERY LLEAK EAENI TTGCA EHCSL NENIT VPDTK VNFYA WKRME VGQQA VEVWQ GLALL SEAVL RGQAL LVNSS QPWEP LQLHV DKAVS GLRSL TTLLR ALGAQ KEAIS PPDAA SAAPL RTITA DTFRK LFRVY SNFLR GKLKL YTGEA CRTGD R.

  • Table 3.

    Patient HLA-haplotypes

    PatientPRCAMHC class IMHC class II
    HLA-AHLA-BHLA-CwHLA-DRB1HLA-DQB1
    P1 case 112Yes*02*08*03*03*02:01
    *24*15:01*07*13*06:03
    P2No*02*15:01*02*04:01*03:01
    *32*40:02*03*11:01*03:02
    P3No*02*35*04*01:01*03:01
    *03*44*05*04:01*05:01