Nanobodies as modulators of inflammation: potential applications for acute brain injury

Front Cell Neurosci. 2014 Oct 21;8:344. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2014.00344. eCollection 2014.


Nanobodies are single domain antibodies derived from llama heavy-chain only antibodies (HCAbs). They represent a new generation of biologicals with unique properties: nanobodies show excellent tissue distribution, high temperature and pH stability, are easy to produce recombinantly and can readily be converted into different formats such as Fc-fusion proteins or hetero-dimers. Moreover, nanobodies have the unique ability to bind molecular clefts, such as the active site of enzymes, thereby interfering with the function of the target protein. Over the last decade, numerous nanobodies have been developed against proteins involved in inflammation with the aim to modulate their immune functions. Here, we give an overview about recently developed nanobodies that target immunological pathways linked to neuroinflammation. Furthermore, we highlight strategies to modify nanobodies so that they can overcome the blood brain barrier and serve as highly specific therapeutics for acute inflammatory brain injury.

Keywords: VHH; blood-brain barrier; nanobodies; neuroinflammation; single domain antibodies.