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The role of human serum albumin and neurotoxin associated proteins in the formulation of BoNT/A products

Kutschenko, A;Bigalke, H;Wegner, F;Wohlfarth, K;

Botulinum neurotoxin (BoNT) is synthesized as a progenitor toxin complex (PTC) by Clostridium botulinum. This PTC comprises, in addition to the neurotoxin itself, neurotoxin associated proteins (NAPs) which are composed of three hemagglutinins and one non-toxic, non-hemagglutinin protein. After oral ingestion, these NAPs protect the neurotoxin from the low pH and proteases in the gastrointestinal tract and play a role in the entry via the intestinal barrier. Two of the three therapeutically used botulinum neurotoxin serotype A (BoNT/A) products (onabotulinumtoxinA and abobotulinumtoxinA) contain different amounts of NAPs, while incobotulinumtoxinA, lacks these proteins. In addition, human serum albumin (HSA) that is supposed to stabilize BoNT/A is added at different concentrations. Up to now, the function of the NAPs and HSA after parenteral therapeutic application is not completely understood. To investigate the influence of NAPs and HSA on potency of BoNT/A, we used the ex vivo mouse phrenic nerve hemidiaphragm assay. Increasing doses of HSA resulted dose-dependently in a more pronounced effect of BoNT/A. Though, a plateau was reached with concentrations of 0.8 mg/ml HSA and higher, the accessory addition of NAPs in a relevant amount (4 ng/ml) did not further enhance the effect of BoNT/A. In conclusion, in our ex vivo assay an adequate concentration of HSA prevented BoNT/A from loss of effect and supplementary NAPs did not alter this effect. A confirmation of these data in an in vivo assay is still lacking. However, it might be supposed that even in clinically applied BoNT/A products an increase of HSA accompanied by the avoidance of NAPs could potentially reduce the injected dose and, thus, the risk of unwanted side effects, the treatment costs as well as the risk of a secondary therapy failure due to BoNT/A neutralizing antibodies. Copyright 2019. Published by Elsevier Ltd.