Effects of natural human antibodies against a nonhuman sialic acid that metabolically incorporates into activated and malignant immune cells

Bibliographic Collection: 
CARTA-Inspired Publication
Publication Type: Journal Article
Authors: Nguyen, D. H.; Tangvoranuntakul, P.; Ajit Varki
Year of Publication: 2005
Journal: J Immunol
Volume: 175
Edition: 2005/06/24
Number: 1
Pagination: 228-36
Date Published: Jul 1
Type of Article: In VitroResearch Support, N.I.H., ExtramuralResearch Support, Non-U.S. Gov'tResearch Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
Publication Language: eng
ISBN Number: 0022-1767 (Print)0022-17
Accession Number: 15972653 PMID
Keywords: *Immunity, Animals, Antibodies/blood, Antibody Specificity, Cell Line, Cytotoxicity, Humans, Immunoglobulin G/blood, Immunologic, Innate, Lymphocyte Activation, Neuraminic Acids/immunology/metabolism, Sialic Acids/chemistry/*immunology/*metabolism, Tumor

Humans are genetically incapable of producing the mammalian sialic acid N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc), due to an inactivating mutation in the enzyme synthesizing it. Despite this, human cells and tissues appear capable of metabolically incorporating Neu5Gc from exogenous sources, including dietary red meat and dairy products. All normal humans studied are now shown to have circulating Abs against Neu5Gc, with marked differences in isotype levels. The question arises whether such Abs can adversely affect Neu5Gc-expressing human cells or tissues. In this study, we show that although normal human PBMC do not incorporate Neu5Gc during in vitro incubation, activated T cells do. Primary human leukemia cells and human leukemic cell lines are even more efficient at incorporation. Human sera containing naturally high levels of anti-Neu5Gc IgG Abs (hereafter abbreviated GcIg) deposited complement on Neu5Gc-expressing leukemic cells and activated T cells, but not on normal cells. The binding of GcIg resulted in complement-mediated cytotoxicity, which was inhibited by heat inactivation. Low anti-Neu5Gc IgG-containing human sera did not mediate any of these effects. Mixed killing assays confirmed the 15-fold selective killing of leukemic cells over PBMC by GcIg following Neu5Gc feeding. This approach could potentially serve as novel way to target malignant cells for death in vivo using either natural Abs or anti-Neu5Gc Abs prepared for this purpose. Further studies are needed to determine whether deposition of natural GcIg and complement can also target healthy proliferating immune cells for death in vivo following incorporation of dietary Neu5Gc.


J Immunol. 2005 Jul 1;175(1):228-36

Author Address:

Glycobiology Research and Training Center, and Department of Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.