Clinical and experimental immunology

A dominant linear B-cell epitope of ricin A-chain is the target of a neutralizing antibody response in Hodgkin's lymphoma patients treated with an anti-CD25 immunotoxin.

PMID 15086403


Hodgkin's lymphoma patients treated with an anti-CD25 Ricin toxin A-chain (RTA)-based Immunotoxin (RFT5.dgA) develop an immune response against the toxic moiety of the immunoconjugate. The anti-RTA antibody response of 15 patients showing different clinical features and receiving different total amounts of RFT5.dgA was therefore studied in detail, considering antibody titre, IgG and IgM content, average binding efficacy and ability to inhibit in vitro the cytotoxicity of a RTA-based Immunotoxin. No correlations were found between these parameters and the clinical features of the patients or the total amount of Immunotoxin administered. However, using a peptide scan approach we have identified a continuous epitope recognized by all patients studied, located within the stretch L161-I175 of the RTA primary sequence, close to a previously identified T-cell epitope. The ability of anti-L161-I175 antibodies to recognize folded RTA and to affect the biological activity of RTA by inhibiting RTA-IT cytotoxicity in vitro revealed that they may exert an important role in IT neutralization in vivo. Discovery of RTA immunodominant epitopes which are the target of anti-RTA immune response may lead to the development of immunomodulating strategies and to more successful treatment schedules.