Radiolabeled antibodies to Bacillus anthracis toxins are bactericidal and partially therapeutic in experimental murine anthrax

Johanna Rivera, Antonio S. Nakouzi, Alfred Morgenstern, Frank Bruchertseifer, Ekaterina Dadachova, Arturo Casadevall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Bacillus anthracis is a powerful agent for use in biological warfare, and infection with the organism is associated with a high rate of mortality, underscoring the need for additional effective therapies for anthrax. Radioimmunotherapy (RIT) takes advantage of the specificity and affinity of the antigen-antibody interaction to deliver a microbicidal radioactive nuclide to a site of infection. RIT has proven therapeutic in experimental models of viral, bacterial, and fungal infections; but it is not known whether this approach can successfully employ toxin binding monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) for diseases caused by toxigenic bacteria. Indirect immunofluorescence studies with MAbs to protective antigen (MAbs 7.5G γ2b and 10F4 γ1) and lethal factor (MAb 14FA γ2b) revealed the surface expression of toxins on bacterial cells. Scatchard analysis of MAbs revealed high binding constants and numerous binding sites on the bacterial surface. To investigate the microbicidal properties of these MAbs, our group radiolabeled MAbs with either 188Re or 213Bi. In vitro, 213Bi was more efficient than 188Re in mediating microbicidal activity against B. anthracis. The administration of MAbs [213Bi]10F4 γ1 and [ 213Bi]14FA γ2b prolonged the survival of A/JCr mice infected with B. anthracis Sterne bacterial cells but not B. anthracis Sterne spores. These results indicate that RIT with MAbs that target B. anthracis toxin components can be used to treat experimental anthrax infection and suggest that toxigenic bacteria may be targeted with radiolabeled MAbs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4860-4868
Number of pages9
JournalAntimicrobial agents and chemotherapy
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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