Reversal of advanced digitoxin toxicity and modification of pharmacokinetics by specific antibodies and Fab fragments

The Journal of Clinical Investigation
H R Ochs, T W Smith


The effects of Fab fragments of high-affinity specific antibodies have been studied in a canine experimental model of lethal digitoxin toxicity. Selected antiserum from sheep immunized and boosted with a digoxin-serum albumin conjugate contained antibodies that cross-reacted with digitoxin with an average intrinsic association constant of 1.4 x 10(10) M(-1) as determined by equilibrium dialysis. Rapid second-order association kinetics (k(f) = 3.7 x 10(6) M(-1) per s) and slow dissociation kinetics (k(r) = 1.9 x 10(-4) per s) were documented for the antibody-digitoxin complex. Eight dogs given 0.5 mg/kg digitoxin intravenously developed ventricular tachycardia after 23+/-4 (SEM) min. Control nonspecific Fab fragments were then given. All animals died an average of 101+/-36 min after digitoxin administration. Another eight dogs given the same digitoxin dose similarly developed ventricular tachycardia after 28+/-3 min. This group then received a molar equivalent dose of specific Fab fragments intravenously over 3 min, followed by a 30-min infusion of one-third of the initial dose. All dogs survived. Conducted sinus beats reappeared 18+/-4 min after initial Fab infusion, and stable normal sinus rhythm was present at 54+/-16 min. Pl...Continue Reading


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Immune complex
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