Epsilon toxin (ETX), produced by Clostridium perfringens types B and D, is among the most lethal toxins known. ETX is a potential bioterrorism threat that was listed as a Category B agent by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control until 2012 and it still remains a toxin of interest for several government agencies. We produced a monoclonal antibody (MAb) against ETX (ETX MAb c4D7) in Nicotiana benthamiana and characterized its preventive and therapeutic efficacy in mice. The ETX preparation used was highly lethal for mice (LD50 = 1.6 μg/kg) and resulted in a mean time from inoculation to death of 18 and 180 min when administered intravenously or intraperitoneally, respectively. High lethal challenge resulted in dramatic increases of a variety of pro-inflammatory cytokines in serum, while lower, but still lethal doses, did not elicit such responses. ETX MAb c4D7 was highly effective prophylactically (ED50 = 0.3 mg/kg; ED100 = 0.8 mg/kg) and also provided protection when delivered 15-30 min post-ETX intoxication. These data suggest that ETX MAb c4D7 may have use as a pre- and post-exposure treatment for ETX intoxication.
Keywords: Epsilon toxin; Monoclonal antibody; Nicotiana benthamiana; Preventive; Therapeutic.
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