Passive and active vaccination strategies to prevent ricin poisoning

Seth H. Pincus, Joan E. Smallshaw, Kejing Song, Jody Berry, Ellen S. Vitetta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ricin toxin (RT) is derived from castor beans, produced by the plant Ricinus communis. RT and its toxic A chain (RTA) have been used therapeutically to arm ligands that target disease-causing cells. In most cases these ligands are cell-binding monoclonal antibodies (MAbs). These ligand-toxin conjugates or immunotoxins (ITs) have shown success in clinical trials [1]. Ricin is also of concern in biodefense and has been classified by the CDC as a Class B biothreat. Virtually all reports of RT poisoning have been due to ingestion of castor beans, since they grow abundantly throughout the world and are readily available. RT is easily purified and stable, and is not difficult to weaponize. RT must be considered during any "white powder" incident and there have been documented cases of its use in espionage [2,3]. The clinical syndrome resulting from ricin intoxication is dependent upon the route of exposure. Countermeasures to prevent ricin poisoning are being developed and their use will depend upon whether military or civilian populations are at risk of exposure. In this review we will discuss ricin toxin, its cellular mode of action, the clinical syndromes that occur following exposure and the development of pre- and post-exposure approaches to prevent of intoxication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1163-1184
Number of pages22
JournalToxins
Volume3
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2011

Keywords

  • Antibodies
  • Biothreat
  • Ricin
  • Vaccines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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