Antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) is an important pathway responsible for antibody-mediated rejection (AMR). Imlifidase (IdeS) cleaves human IgG into F(ab’)2 and Fc fragments, potentially inhibiting ADCC. Here we examined the effect of IdeS on allo-antibody-mediated NK cell activation (Allo-CFC) and ADCC in vitro.
For Allo-CFC, normal whole blood was incubated with third-party peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) pretreated with anti-HLA antibody positive (HS) or negative (NC) sera to measure IFNγ+ NK cell%. For ADCC, normal PBMCs were incubated with Farage B (FB) cells with HS or NC sera to measure 7-AAD+ lysed FB cell%. To assess the effect of IdeS on these assays, serum-treated PBMCs (Allo-CFC-1) and serum used for PBMC pretreatment (Allo-CFC-2) in Allo-CFC, and serum used for ADCC were preincubated with IdeS. Sera from IdeS-treated patients were also tested for Allo-CFC (Allo-CFC-3).
IFNγ+ NK cell% were significantly elevated in HS versus NC sera in Allo-CFC-1 (10 ± 3% versus 2 ± 1%, P = 0.001), Allo-CFC-2 (20 ± 10% versus 4 ± 2%, P = 0.01) and 7AAD+ FB cell% (11 ± 3% versus 4 ± 2%, P = 0.02) in ADCC. These were significantly reduced by IdeS treatment. Patient sera with significantly reduced anti-HLA antibody levels at 1 day postimlifidase lost the capacity to activate NK cells in Allo-CFC-3, but those at 1–3 months postimlifidase regained the capacity.
IdeS inhibited NK cell activation and ADCC in vitro and in treated patients. These results and reported inhibition of complement activating anti-HLA antibodies by IdeS suggest its possible role in treatment of AMR.