Structural properties of monoclonal antibody aggregates induced by freeze-thawing and thermal stress

Publication Type:

Journal Article


European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Volume 38, Number 2, pp. 79-87 (2009)



DOI Name (links to online publication)



monoclonal antibody; protein aggregation; particle formation; protein analytics; freeze-thawing; thermal stress; immunoglobulin-g; secondary structure; circular-dichroism; fluorescence spectroscopy; buffer composition; crohns-disease; protein; denaturatio


Aggregation of monoclonal antibodies can be induced by freeze-thawing and elevated temperature, typical stress factors during development, production and storage. Our aim was to characterize structural properties of aggregates formed after freeze-thawing and thermal stressing of humanized monoclonal IgG(1) antibody (IgG). Formulations with 1.0 mg/ml IgG in 100 mM phosphate pH 7.2 were Subjected to freeze-thawing and heating and characterized by spectroscopic techniques (UV-absorption, CD, ATR-FTIR and fluorescence), light obscuration, dynamic light scattering, SDS-PAGE, AF4 with UV and MALLS detection, and HP-SEC With UV and online fluorescent dye detection. Thermal stress led to an increased formation of dimers and soluble oligomers (HP-SEC, AF4). Aggregates smaller than 30 nm were measured (DLS), next to slightly elevated particle levels in the mu m range (light obscuration). Aggregates created by heating were in part covalently linked (SIDS-PAGE) and made up of conformationally perturbed monomers (CD), ATR-FTIR, extrinsic dye fluorescence). Aggregation after freeze-thawing was manifested primarily in particle formation in the pm range. These aggregates were noncovalently linked (SDS-PAGE) and composed of native-like monomers, as obvious from CD, ATR-FTIR and extrinsic dye fluorescence spectroscopy. In conclusion, the complementary methods used in this study revealed that heating and freeze-thawing induced aggregates differ significantly in their physico-chemical characteristics. (C) 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.