Effective Treatment of Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B Aerosol Intoxication in Rhesus Macaques by Using Two Parenterally Administered High-Affinity Monoclonal Antibodies

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2019 Apr 25;63(5):e02049-18. doi: 10.1128/AAC.02049-18. Print 2019 May.


Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) is a protein exotoxin found on the cell surface of Staphylococcus aureus that is the source for multiple pathologies in humans. When purified and concentrated in aerosol form, SEB can cause an acute and often fatal intoxication and thus is considered a biological threat agent. There are currently no vaccines or treatments approved for human use. Studies with rodent models of SEB intoxication show that antibody therapy may be a promising treatment strategy; however, many have used antibodies only prophylactically or well before any clinical signs of intoxication are apparent. We assessed and compared the protective efficacies of two monoclonal antibodies, Ig121 and c19F1, when administered after aerosol exposure in a uniformly lethal nonhuman primate model of SEB intoxication. Rhesus macaques were challenged using small-particle aerosols of SEB and then were infused intravenously with a single dose of either Ig121 or c19F1 (10 mg/kg of body weight) at either 0.5, 2, or 4 h postexposure. Onset of clinical signs and hematological and cytokine response in untreated controls confirmed the acute onset and potency of the toxin used in the challenge. All animals administered either Ig121 or c19F1 survived SEB challenge, whereas the untreated controls succumbed to SEB intoxication 30 to 48 h postexposure. These results represent the successful therapeutic in vivo protection by two investigational drugs against SEB in a severe nonhuman primate disease model and punctuate the therapeutic value of monoclonal antibodies when faced with treatment options for SEB-induced toxicity in a postexposure setting.

Keywords: Macaca mulatta; aerosol; antibody therapy; staphylococcal enterotoxin.

MeSH terms

  • Aerosols / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Enterotoxins / toxicity*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Macaca mulatta


  • Aerosols
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Enterotoxins
  • enterotoxin B, staphylococcal