Silicone oil- and agitation-induced aggregation of a monoclonal antibody in aqueous solution

J Pharm Sci. 2009 Sep;98(9):3167-81. doi: 10.1002/jps.21719.


Silicone oil, which is used as a lubricant or coating in devices such as syringes, needles and pharmaceutical containers, has been implicated in aggregation and particulation of proteins and antibodies. Aggregation of therapeutic protein products induced by silicone oil can pose a challenge to their development and commercialization. To systematically characterize the role of silicone oil on protein aggregation, the effects of agitation, temperature, pH, and ionic strength on silicone oil-induced loss of monomeric anti-streptavidin IgG 1 antibody were examined. Additionally, the influences of excipients polysorbate 20 and sucrose on protein aggregation were investigated. In the absence of agitation, protein absorbed to silicone oil with approximately monolayer coverage, however silicone oil did not stimulate aggregation during isothermal incubation unless samples were also agitated. A synergistic stimulation of aggregation by a combination of agitation and silicone oil was observed. Solution conditions which reduced colloidal stability of the antibody, as assessed by determination of osmotic second virial coefficients, accelerated aggregation during agitation with silicone oil. Polysorbate 20 completely inhibited silicone oil-induced monomer loss during agitation. A formulation strategy involving optimization of colloidal stability of the antibody as well as incorporation of surfactants such as polysorbate 20 is proposed to reduce silicone oil-induced aggregation of therapeutic protein products.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / chemistry
  • Chemical Precipitation
  • Emulsions / chemistry
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Immunoglobulin G / chemistry*
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology
  • Polysorbates / chemistry
  • Protein Conformation / drug effects
  • Protein Stability / drug effects*
  • Silicone Oils / pharmacology*
  • Sodium Chloride / chemistry
  • Streptavidin / immunology*
  • Sucrose / chemistry
  • Transition Temperature
  • Water / chemistry*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Emulsions
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Polysorbates
  • Silicone Oils
  • Water
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sucrose
  • Streptavidin