A novel high mobility group box 1 neutralizing chimeric antibody attenuates drug-induced liver injury and postinjury inflammation in mice

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Acetaminophen (APAP) overdoses are of major clinical concern. Growing evidence underlines a pathogenic contribution of sterile postinjury inflammation in APAP-induced acute liver injury (APAP-ALI) and justifies development of anti-inflammatory therapies with therapeutic efficacy beyond the therapeutic window of the only current treatment option, N-acetylcysteine (NAC). The inflammatory mediator, high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), is a key regulator of a range of liver injury conditions and is elevated in clinical and preclinical APAP-ALI. The anti-HMGB1 antibody (m2G7) is therapeutically beneficial in multiple inflammatory conditions, and anti-HMGB1 polyclonal antibody treatment improves survival in a model of APAP-ALI. Herein, we developed and investigated the therapeutic efficacy of a partly humanized anti-HMGB1 monoclonal antibody (mAb; h2G7) and identified its mechanism of action in preclinical APAP-ALI. The mouse anti-HMGB1 mAb (m2G7) was partly humanized (h2G7) by merging variable domains of m2G7 with human antibody-Fc backbones. Effector function-deficient variants of h2G7 were assessed in comparison with h2G7 in vitro and in preclinical APAP-ALI. h2G7 retained identical antigen specificity and comparable affinity as m2G7. 2G7 treatments significantly attenuated APAP-induced serum elevations of alanine aminotransferase and microRNA-122 and completely abrogated markers of APAP-induced inflammation (tumor necrosis factor, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, and chemokine [C-X-C motif] ligand 1) with prolonged therapeutic efficacy as compared to NAC. Removal of complement and/or Fc receptor binding did not affect h2G7 efficacy. Conclusion: This is the first report describing the generation of a partly humanized HMGB1-neutralizing antibody with validated therapeutic efficacy and with a prolonged therapeutic window, as compared to NAC, in APAP-ALI. The therapeutic effect was mediated by HMGB1 neutralization and attenuation of postinjury inflammation. These results represent important progress toward clinical implementation of HMGB1-specific therapy as a means to treat APAP-ALI and other inflammatory conditions. (Hepatology 2016;64:1699-1710).

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