Ricin toxin (RT) ranks at the top of the list of potential bioweapons of concern to civilian and military personnel alike due to its high potential for morbidity and mortality after inhalation. In non-human primates, aerosolized ricin triggers a severe acute respiratory distress characterized by perivascular and alveolar edema, neutrophilic infiltration, and severe necrotizing bronchiolitis and alveolitis. There are currently no approved countermeasures for ricin intoxication. In this report, we demonstrate the therapeutic potential of huPB10, a toxin-neutralizing humanized monoclonal antibody (MAb) against an immunodominant epitope on ricin’s enzymatic A chain (RTA). Five rhesus macaques that received intravenous huPB10 (10 mg/kg) four hours after lethal dose ricin aerosol exposure all survived the toxin challenge, as compared to control animals, which succumbed to ricin intoxication within 30 h. Antibody treatment at 12 h after ricin exposure resulted in the survival of only one of five monkeys, indicating that, in the majority of animals, ricin intoxication and local tissue damage had progressed beyond the point where huPB10 intervention was beneficial. Change in pro-inflammatory cytokine/chemokines levels in bronchial alveolar lavage fluids before and after toxin challenge successfully clustered monkeys based on survival, as well as treatment group. IL-6 was the most apparent marker of ricin intoxication. This study represents the first demonstration in nonhuman primates that the lethal effects of inhalational ricin exposure can be negated by a drug candidate and opens up a path forward for product development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)