Topical ocular treatment with monoclonal antibody Fab fragments targeting Japanese cedar pollen Cry j 1 inhibits Japanese cedar pollen-induced allergic conjunctivitis in mice
Fab fragments (Fabs) of antibodies having the ability only to bind to specific allergens lack effector functions due to the absence of the Fc portion. In the present study, we examined whether IgG1 monoclonal antibody (mAb) Fabs targeting Japanese cedar pollen (JCP) Cry j 1 were able to regulate JCP-induced allergic conjunctivitis in mice. BALB/c mice actively sensitized with JCP were repeatedly challenged by topical administration of JCP eye drops. Fabs prepared by the digestion of anti-JCP IgG1 mAbs (P1-3 and P1-8) with papain were applied to the eye 15 min before the JCP challenges followed by measurement of the clinical conjunctivitis score. In the in vitro experiments, P1-3 and P1-8 showed specific binding to JCP Cry j 1. Furthermore, intact P1-3 binding to Cry j 1 was inhibited by P1-3 Fabs, but not P1-8 Fabs; additionally, P1-8 Fabs, but not P1-3 Fabs, suppressed the intact P1-8 binding, suggesting that the epitopes of Cry j 1 recognized by P1-3 and P1-8 were different. Topical ocular treatment with P1-3 Fabs or P1-8 Fabs was followed by marked suppression of JCP-induced conjunctivitis (P<0.01). In histological evaluation, P1-8 Fabs showed a reduction in eosinophil infiltration in the conjunctiva (P<0.01). These results demonstrated that topical ocular treatment with IgG1 mAb Fabs to Cry j 1 was effective in suppressing JCP-induced allergic conjunctivitis in mice. Furthermore, it suggests the possibility that some epitopes recognized by Fabs could be used as a tool to regulate allergic conjunctivitis.