Background and Purpose: Pemphigus and pemphigoid diseases are characterized and caused predominantly by IgG autoantibodies targeting structural proteins of the skin. Their current treatment relies on general and prolonged immunosuppression that causes severe adverse events, including death. Hence, novel safe and more effective treatments are urgently needed. Due to its' physiological functions, the neonatal Fc receptor (FcRn) has emerged as a potential therapeutic target for pemphigus and pemphigoid, primarily because IgG is protected from proteolysis after uptake into endothelial cells. Thus, blockade of FcRn would reduce circulating autoantibody concentrations. However, long-term effects of pharmacological FcRn inhibition in therapeutic settings of autoimmune diseases are unknown. Experimental Approach: Therapeutic effects of FcRn blockade were investigated in a murine model of the prototypical autoantibody-mediated pemphigoid disease, epidermolysis bullosa acquisita (EBA). B6.SJL-H2s C3c/1CyJ mice with clinically active disease were randomized to receive either an anti-FcRn monoclonal antibody (4470) or an isotype control over 4 weeks. Key Results: While clinical disease continued to worsen in isotype control-treated mice, overall disease severity continuously decreased in mice injected with 4470, leading to almost complete remission in over 25% of treated mice. These clinical findings were paralleled by a reduction of autoantibody concentrations. Reduction of autoantibody concentrations, rather than modulating neutrophil activation, was responsible for the observed therapeutic effects. Conclusion and Implications: The clinical efficacy of anti-FcRn treatment in this prototypical autoantibody-mediated disease encourages further development of anti-FcRn antibodies for clinical use in pemphigoid diseases and potentially in other autoantibody mediated diseases.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)