Reactivity of IgM antibodies elicited by PEGylated liposomes or PEGylated lipoplexes against auto and foreign antigens

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Polyethylene glycol (PEG) is an attractive tool for the development of nanoparticle-based cancer therapy since it endows nanoparticles with extended-circulation properties. Nevertheless, recent reports have revealed that intravenous injection of either PEGylated liposomes (SLs) or PEGylated lipoplex (PLpx) could elicit an anti-PEG immunoglobulin (IgM) response in a T cell-independent (TI) manner that would substantially compromise the in vivo fate of PEGylated products upon repeated administration. In the same context, viral or bacterial infections trigger the production of polyreactive IgM that binds both self and foreign antigens. The polyreactivity of IgM elicited by SLs or PLpx, to bacteria and other polymers, however, is yet to be elucidated. In this study, the polyreactivity of IgM elicited by SLs or PLpx was challenged against different bacteria (TI antigens) and against synthetic polymer composed of repetitive structures (PVP-360 or FITC-dextran). Results demonstrated that anti-PEG IgM elicited by either SLs or PLpx showed no reactivity to various bacteria examined, while the IgM showed remarkable reactivity to both PVP-360 and FITC-dextran. In addition, interestingly, anti-PEG IgM elicited by either SLs or PLpx showed no antinuclear antibody-like immune reactivity, and, therefore, treatment with either SLs or PLpx was not expected to exacerbate autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus. Collectively, our findings could provide information supporting the safety of PEGylated nanoparticle-based pharmaceutics, particularly in patients with autoimmune diseases.Graphical abstract

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