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Characterization of new anti-IL-6 antibodies revealed high potency candidates for intracellular cytokine detection and specific targeting of IL-6 receptor binding sites

Karinna Chouman, Birgit Korioth-Schmitz, Markus Sack, Jörn Engelbert Schmitz, Anh Tuan Pham, Rainer Fischer, Stefan Barth, Torsten Klockenbring, Rolf Fendel
European Cytokine Network 2018 June 1, 29 (2): 59-72
Interleukin-6 (IL-6) expression and secretion, induced by inflammatory processes, stimulate the acute phase response cascade. The overexpression of IL-6 contributes to a variety of inflammatory diseases, e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, Castleman's disease, multiple myeloma, and prostate cancer. Screening for high amounts of IL-6 in the patients' blood serum can be crucial for an adequate treatment. In this study, five novel murine monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) reactive to human IL-6 were generated. The mAbs were characterized for potential diagnostic purposes and recombinant antibodies were derived thereof. Initial epitope mapping using a combination of blocking experiments and Hyper-IL-6, a fusion protein consisting of IL-6 and the soluble IL-6 receptor revealed distinct but overlapping binding sites. At least one of the mAbs was found to interact with the region of IL-6/ IL-R complex formation. Three mAbs were applied successfully in intracellular staining by flow cytometry, whereas one of the mAbs showed comparable binding as a reference reagent. Furthermore, the mAbs were tested for applications in various immunological assays such as ELISA, Western blot and surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy (SPR), using IL-6 from commercial sources as well as in-house produced protein (IL-6_IME). The limit of detection was determined by sandwich ELISA (0.5 ng/mL, SD ±0.005). Our results also demonstrated that the recombinant IL-6 produced was functional and correctly folded. These findings support the use of the generated mAb clones as promising candidates for application in various immunological assays for diagnostic and scientific purposes.


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