Characterization of human monoclonal autoantibody Fab fragments against oxidized LDL

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Oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) is a key autoantigen in atherosclerosis. The genetic structures and pathogenic roles of autoantibodies against this protein remain to be established. In this study, we cloned several monoclonal IgG autoantibody Fab fragments specific for oxLDL from peripheral blood lymphocytes of atherosclerosis patients, using phage display technology. The sequences of their variable regions were determined at the cDNA level. The closest germline counterparts for the heavy chains belonged to the VH3 or VH1 family. The sequences and lengths of complementarity-determining regions (CDR)3-VH were diverse, and frequent mutations of positively charged amino acids (particularly arginine) over entire VH and VL sequences were observed. It is proposed that anti-oxLDL autoantibody formation is driven by antigens. Among the Fabs, P2-8 and P3-175 bound to both MDA-LDL and Cu-oxLDL, and inhibited the uptake of oxLDL by macrophages, suggesting the epitope(s) recognized by the Fabs is a part of ligands on oxLDL that is involved in uptake by macrophage scavenger receptor. These human autoantibody Fabs require detailed investigation to ascertain their potential as agents for clinical applications.

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