Immunosafety of recombinant human C1-inhibitor in hereditary angioedema: evaluation of ige antibodies

BACKGROUND: Recombinant human C1-inhibitor (rhC1INH) purified from milk of transgenic rabbits is used for the treatment of acute attacks in patients with hereditary angioedema (HAE) due to C1-inhibitor (C1INH) deficiency.

OBJECTIVE: The objective was to investigate the risk of rhC1INH inducing IgE antibodies or eliciting anaphylactic reactions.

METHODS: In subjects treated with rhC1INH, we retrospectively analysed the frequency and clinical relevance of pre-exposure and potentially newly induced IgE antibodies against rabbit and other animal allergens including cow’s milk by the ImmunoCAP() Specific IgE blood test system.

RESULTS: 130 HAE patients and 14 healthy subjects received 300 administrations of rhC1INH, 65 subjects (47.4 %) on one occasion; 72 (52.6 %) on at least two occasions (range 2-12; median 2). Five subjects had pre-existing anti-rabbit epithelium IgE; the subject with the highest levels and a previously undisclosed rabbit allergy developed an anaphylactic reaction upon first exposure to rhC1INH, whereas the other four subjects with lower pre-existing IgE levels (Class 1-3), did not. No other anaphylactic reactions were identified in any of the subjects exposed to rhC1INH. Analysis of post-exposure samples revealed that the risk of inducing new or boosting existing IgE responses to rabbit or cow’s milk allergens was negligible.

CONCLUSION: The propensity of rhC1INH to induce IgE antibodies following repeated administration of rhC1INH is low. Subjects with substantially elevated anti-rabbit epithelium IgE antibodies and/or clinical allergy to rabbits may have an increased risk for an allergic reaction. No other risk factors for allergic reactions to rhC1INH have been identified.

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