Lundbäck P, Lea JD, Sowinska A, Ottosson L, Fürst CM, Steen J, Aulin C, Clarke JI, Kipar A, Klevenvall L, Yang H, Palmblad K, Park BK, Tracey KJ, Blom AM, Andersson U, Antoine DJ, Erlandsson Harris H
Hepatology 64 (5) 1699-1710 [2016-11-00; online 2016-09-01]
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. 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).