BHK-derived FVIII possesses higher levels of nonhuman αGal compared with CHO-derived FVIII.
BHK-derived FVIII exhibits increased reactivity with serum from αGal-KO mice and increased immunogenicity in αGal-KO recipients.
Recombinant factor VIII (FVIII) products represent a life-saving intervention for patients with hemophilia A. However, patients can develop antibodies against FVIII that prevent its function and directly increase morbidity and mortality. The development of anti-FVIII antibodies varies depending on the type of recombinant product used, with previous studies suggesting that second-generation baby hamster kidney (BHK)-derived FVIII products display greater immunogenicity than do third-generation Chinese hamster ovary (CHO)-derived FVIII products. However, the underlying mechanisms responsible for these differences remain incompletely understood. Our results demonstrate that BHK cells express higher levels of the nonhuman carbohydrate α1-3 galactose (αGal) than do CHO cells, suggesting that αGal incorporation onto FVIII may result in anti-αGal antibody recognition that could positively influence the development of anti-FVIII antibodies. Consistent with this, BHK-derived FVIII exhibits increased levels of αGal, which corresponds to increased reactivity with anti-αGal antibodies. Infusion of BHK-derived, but not CHO-derived, FVIII into αGal–knockout mice, which spontaneously generate anti-αGal antibodies, results in significantly higher anti-FVIII antibody formation, suggesting that the increased levels of αGal on BHK-derived FVIII can influence immunogenicity. These results suggest that posttranslational modifications of recombinant FVIII products with nonhuman carbohydrates may influence the development of anti-FVIII antibodies.