CD44 Antibody Inhibition of Macrophage Phagocytosis Targets Fcγ Receptor– and Complement Receptor 3–Dependent Mechanisms
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Targeting CD44, a major leukocyte adhesion molecule, using specific Abs has been shown beneficial in several models of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The mechanisms contributing to the anti-inflammatory effects of CD44 Abs, however, remain poorly understood. Phagocytosis is a key component of immune system function and can play a pivotal role in autoimmune states where CD44 Abs have shown to be effective. In this study, we show that the well-known anti-inflammatory CD44 Ab IM7 can inhibit murine macrophage phagocytosis of RBCs. We assessed three selected macrophage phagocytic receptor systems: Fcγ receptors (FcγRs), complement receptor 3 (CR3), and dectin-1. Treatment of macrophages with IM7 resulted in significant inhibition of FcγR-mediated phagocytosis of IgG-opsonized RBCs. The inhibition of FcγR-mediated phagocytosis was at an early stage in the phagocytic process involving both inhibition of the binding of the target RBC to the macrophages and postbinding events. This CD44 Ab also inhibited CR3-mediated phagocytosis of C3bi-opsonized RBCs, but it did not affect the phagocytosis of zymosan particles, known to be mediated by the C-type lectin dectin-1. Other CD44 Abs known to have less broad anti-inflammatory activity, including KM114, KM81, and KM201, did not inhibit FcγR-mediated phagocytosis of RBCs. Taken together, these findings demonstrate selective inhibition of FcγR and CR3-mediated phagocytosis by IM7 and suggest that this broadly anti-inflammatory CD44 Ab inhibits these selected macrophage phagocytic pathways. The understanding of the immune-regulatory effects of CD44 Abs is important in the development and optimization of therapeutic strategies for the potential treatment of autoimmune conditions.
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