IgG particle formation during filling pump operation: a case study of heterogeneous nucleation on stainless steel nanoparticles

J Pharm Sci. 2009 Jan;98(1):94-104. doi: 10.1002/jps.21419.


This study investigated factors associated with vial filling with a positive displacement piston pump leading to formation of protein particles in a formulation of an IgG. We hypothesized that nanoparticles shed from the pump's solution-contact surfaces nucleated protein aggregation and particle formation. Vials of IgG formulation filled at a clinical manufacturing site contained a few visible particles and about 100,000 particles (1.5-3 microm) per mL. In laboratory studies with the same model (National Instruments FUS-10) of pump, pumping of 20 mg/mL IgG formulation resulted in about 300,000 particles (1.5-3 microm) per mL. Pumping of protein-free formulation resulted in 13,000 particles (1.5-15 microm) per mL. More than 99% of the particles were 0.25-0.95 microm in size. Mixing of protein-free pumped solution with an equal volume of 40 mg/mL IgG resulted in 300,000 particles (1.5-15 microm) per mL. Also, mixing IgG formulation with 30,000/mL stainless steel nanoparticles resulted in formation of 30,000 protein microparticles (1.5-15 microm) per mL. Infrared spectroscopy showed that secondary structure of IgG in microparticles formed by pumping or mixing with steel nanoparticles was minimally perturbed. Our results document that nanoparticles of foreign materials shed by pumps can serve as heterogeneous nuclei for formation of protein microparticles.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Immunoglobulin G / chemistry
  • Immunoglobulin G / metabolism*
  • Nanoparticles / chemistry*
  • Nanotechnology / methods*
  • Particle Size
  • Stainless Steel / analysis
  • Stainless Steel / chemistry*
  • Surface Properties


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Stainless Steel