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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

Pre-existing canine anti-IgG antibodies: implications for immunotherapy, immunogenicity testing and immunoassay analysis

Bergman, Daniel; Bäckström, Camilla; Hansson-Hamlin, Helene; Larsson, Anders; Ström Holst, Bodil


One of the most enigmatic features of humoral immunity is the prevalent presence of circulating autoantibodies against IgG. These autoantibodies consist of several subsets, including rheumatoid factors, anti-Fab/anti-F(ab′)2-autoantibodies, and anti-idiotypic antibodies. Anti-IgG autoantibodies can impair the safety and efficacy of therapeutic antibodies and interfere with immunogenicity tests in clinical trials. They can also cross-react with allospecific IgG, presenting as heterophilic antibodies that interfere with diagnostic immunoassays. Owing to these factors, recent years have seen a resurgent interest in anti-IgG autoantibodies, but their underlying clinical significance, as well as biological roles and origins, remain opaque. Increased knowledge about canine anti-IgG autoantibodies could facilitate the development of canine immunotherapies and help in understanding and counteracting immunoassay interference. This study investigated the clinical significance and interconnection of heterophilic antibodies, anti-Fab, and anti-F(ab′)2-autoantibodies in dogs. We performed a 2-year prospective follow-up of dogs with heterophilic antibodies and analyzed serum for anti-Fab and anti-F(ab′)2-autoantibodies. Canine heterophilic antibodies can persist for at least 2 years in serum. A widespread occurrence of anti-Fab and anti-F(ab′)2-autoantibodies was found, with reactivity to cryptic epitopes in the IgG hinge region and sporadic cross-reactivity with mouse IgG. Canine anti-Fab and anti-F(ab′)2-autoantibodies are thus potential sources of clinical immunogenicity and immunoassay interference.

Published in

Scientific Reports
2020, Volume: 10, number: 1, article number: 12696