This study describes an antibody-dependent NK cell degranulation assay, as a biomarker to assess antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) response in influenza plasma and for antibody therapies against influenza infection. The concentration of neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) against the hemagglutinin receptor of influenza viruses is a current determinant in protection against infection, particularly following receipt of the seasonal influenza vaccine. However, this is a limited assessment of protection, because: (i) NAb titers that incur full protection vary; and (ii) NAb titers do not account for the entire breadth of antibody responses against viral infection. Previous reports have indicated that antibodies that prime ADCC play a vital role in controlling influenza infections, and thus should be quantified for assessing protection against influenza. This report demonstrates a non-radioactive assay that assesses NK cell activation as a marker of ADCC, in which NK cells interact with opsonized viral antigen expressed on the surface of infected Raji target cells resulting in effector cell degranulation (surrogate CD107a expression). A positive correlation was determined between HAI titers and sustained NK cell activation, although NK cell activation was seen in plasma samples with HAI titers below 40 and varied amongst samples with high HAI titers. Furthermore, sustained NK cell degranulation was determined for influenza-vaccinated transchromosomic bovine intravenous immunoglobulin, indicating the potential utility of this therapy for influenza treatment. We conclude that this assay is reproducible and relevant.
Morrison, B. J., Roman, J. A., Luke, T. C., Nagabhushana, N., Raviprakash, K., Williams, M., & Sun, P. (2017). Antibody-dependent NK cell degranulation as a marker for assessing antibody-dependent cytotoxicity against pandemic 2009 influenza A(H1N1) infection in human plasma and influenza-vaccinated transchromosomic bovine intravenous immunoglobulin therapy. Journal of Virological Methods, 248, 7–18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jviromet.2017.06.007