Human alpha 1-antitrypsin therapy induces fatal anaphylaxis in non-obese diabetic mice

Y. Lu, M. Parker, A. Pileggi, B. Zhang, Y. K. Choi, R. D. Molano, C. Wasserfall, C. Ricordi, L. Inverardi, M. Brantly, D. Schatz, M. Atkinson, S. Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Previous studies have shown that human alpha-1 antitrypsin (hAAT) gene delivery prevents type 1 diabetes (T1D) in non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice. Furthermore, hAAT protein administration prolongs acceptance of islet allografts. Therefore, we evaluated the use of purified hAAT protein therapy to prevent T1D in NOD mice. Female NOD, non-obese resistant (NOR), Balb/c and C57BL/6 mice were injected intraperitoneally with vehicle alone or vehicle containing hAAT, human albumin or mouse albumin (or mg/injection/mouse; 2×/week). Preparations of clinical-grade hAAT included API®, Aralast®, Prolastin® and Zemaira®. Surprisingly, hAAT administration was associated with a high rate of fatal anaphylaxis. In studies seeking T1D prevention at 4 weeks of age, 100% mice died after six injections of hAAT. When administrated at 8-10 weeks of age, most (80-100%) NOD mice died following the fourth injection of hAAT, while 0% of Balb/c and C57BL/6 mice and 10% of NOR mice died. Interestingly, repeated injections of human albumin, but not mouse albumin, also induced sudden death in NOD mice. Antibodies to hAAT were induced 2-3 weeks after hAAT administration and death was prevented by treatment with anti-platelet-activating factor along with anti-histamine. In studies of disease reversal in NOD mice, using the four pharmaceutical grade formulations of hAAT, anaphylactic deaths were observed with all hAAT preparations. The propensity for fatal anaphylaxis following antigenic administration appears to be NOD- but not hAAT-specific. The susceptibility of NOD mice to hypersensitivity provides a significant limitation for testing of hAAT. Development of strategies to avoid this unwanted response is required to use this promising therapeutic agent for T1D.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-21
Number of pages7
JournalClinical and Experimental Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • Alpha 1 antitrypsin
  • Anaphylaxis
  • NOD mice
  • Type 1 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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