UNN researchers enhance the properties of immunoglobulin A preparations
Biomedical researchers at Lobachevsky University have proposed a way to improve the therapeutic properties of immunoglobulin (antibody) preparations and 'teach' immunoglobulin A to recognise new bacteria and viruses.
Immunoglobulins form the body's first line of defence against pathogens. They are found in large quantities on the mucous membranes of the gastrointestinal tract, urogenital and respiratory systems, and IgA is also abundant in breast milk, lacrimal secretion and sweat. Secretory IgA can limit the access of pathogens to gastrointestinal mucosal membranes, thus preventing the development of infectious diseases and inflammatory processes.
In their study, scientists treated immunoglobulin preparations with modifying agents and tested how they interacted with antigens from E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, viral peptides and tumour antigens. By using microarrays of thousands of different antigens, it was found that heme (an iron-containing non-protein component of hemoglobin), iron (II) and an acidic environment can enhance the protective properties of immunoglobulin. These can be used to control the proliferation of pathogenic microflora in the gut. By increasing the number of invasive agents bound by immunoglobulins, it is possible to 'neutralise' more pathogens. For example, such modified IgA as part of baby food will provide additional protection against infections in formula-fed babies.
"Earlier, our colleagues from Bulgaria and France published data on the possibility of modifying the properties of G and E immunoglobulins. To date, a modified immunoglobulin G preparation is known to have therapeutic effects in all models of sepsis and aseptic systemic inflammation. We have also proved that serum and secretory immunoglobulins of class A can also be 'taught' to bind antigens that they previously did not recognise," says Ekaterina Gorshkova, Associate Professor at the UNN Department of Molecular Biology and Immunology.
Today, UNN scientists are studying not only immunoglobulin A, but also a complex preparation with a mixture of immunoglobulins of different classes. They intend to improve the preparation’s functionality by increasing the number of antigens bound and the range of immune reactions.
"Our method can be used to modify immunoglobulin preparations. First of all, it will improve their effect on intestinal infections. This will not only extend the range of their use, but will also reduce the dosages and at the same time the number of undesirable side effects as well as the costs of treatment", explains Ekaterina Gorshkova.
The research was carried out by an international team comprising researchers from the UNN Institute of Biology and Biomedicine, the Institute of Biology and Immunology of Reproduction and the Stefan Angelov Institute of Microbiology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The results have been published in the journals Pharmacology and Immunobiology.