Insights into the Mechanism of Action of Highly Diluted Biologics

The therapeutic use of Abs in cancer, autoimmunity, transplantation, and other fields is among the major biopharmaceutical advances of the 20th century. Broader use of Ab-based drugs is constrained because of their high production costs and frequent side effects. One promising approach to overcome these limitations is the use of highly diluted Abs, which are produced by gradual reduction of an Ab concentration to an extremely low level. This technology was used to create a group of drugs for the treatment of various diseases, depending on the specificity of the used Abs. Highly diluted Abs to IFN-γ (hd-anti–IFN-γ) have been demonstrated to be efficacious against influenza and other respiratory infections in a variety of preclinical and clinical studies. In the current study, we provide evidence for a possible mechanism of action of hd-anti–IFN-γ. Using high-resolution solution nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, we show that the drug induced conformational changes in the IFN-γ molecule. Chemical shift changes occurred in the amino acids located primarily at the dimer interface and at the C-terminal region of IFN-γ. These molecular changes could be crucial for the function of the protein, as evidenced by an observed hd-anti–IFN-γ–induced increase in the specific binding of IFN-γ to its receptor in U937 cells, enhanced induced production of IFN-γ in human PBMC culture, and increased survival of influenza A–infected mice.

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