A porcine model of complement-mediated infusion reactions to drug carrier nanosystems and other medicines

János Szebeni, Péter Bedocs, Domokos Csukás, László Rosivall, Rolf Bünger, Rudolf Urbanics

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

71 Citations (Scopus)


Intravenous administration of low (milligram) doses of nanoparticulate materials in pigs can lead to acute cardiopulmonary, hemodynamic, hematological, biochemical and dermatological changes within minutes, mimicking the human infusion (or anaphylactoid) reactions to many state-of-the-art (nano)medicines and biologicals. Because of the causal role of complement (C) activation, the phenomenon was called C activation-related pseudoallergy (CARPA). This review summarizes the available information on porcine CARPA caused by different liposomes and polymers. It provides methodical details of the model and addresses the quantitation, sensitivity, specificity, reproducibility and variability of symptoms caused by different reactogenic drugs. We describe a unique feature of the model: the rise of tachyphylaxis (self-induced tolerance) as a function of structural properties of reactogenic agents. For drugs that cause tachyphylactic CARPA, such as liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil), the review recapitulates a recently reported method of desensitization, which may prevent this, as well as many similar hypersensitivity reactions. In explaining the underlying mechanism of tachyphylactic CARPA, a new theory on "double hit" is outlined, wherein the pulmonary intravascular macrophages (PIM cells) of pigs give aggravated response to simultaneous stimulation of their anaphylatoxin and other surface receptors (e.g., toll-like, PAMP, DAMP or mannose) that recognize vesicle surface molecular patterns. The porcine CARPA model might provide unique advantages in studying the mechanism of severe hypersensitivity reactions in man to i.v. drugs, as well as in identifying drugs and drug carriers that may cause such reactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1706-1716
Number of pages11
JournalAdvanced Drug Delivery Reviews
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2012


  • (Pseudo)allergy
  • Adverse drug effects
  • Anaphylactic shock
  • Animal models
  • Circulation
  • Immune toxicity
  • Nanomedicines
  • PIM cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science

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