Fabry disease (OMIM #301500) is an X-linked disorder caused by alpha-galactosidase A deficiency with two major clinical phenotypes: classic and non-classic of different prognosis. From 2001, enzyme replacement therapies (ERT) have been available. We aimed to determine the epidemiology and the functional characteristics of anti-drug antibodies. Patients from the French multicenter cohort FFABRY (n = 103 patients, 53 males) were prospectively screened for total anti-agalsidase IgG and IgG subclasses with a home-made enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), enzyme-inhibition assessed with neutralization assays and lysoGb3 plasma levels, and compared for clinical outcomes.
Among the patients exposed to agalsidase, 40% of men (n = 18/45) and 8% of women (n = 2/25) had antibodies with a complete cross-reactivity towards both ERTs. Antibodies developed preferentially in men with non-missense GLA mutations (relative risk 2.88, p = 0.006) and classic phenotype (58.6% (17/29) vs 6.7% (1/16), p = 0.0005). Specific anti-agalsidase IgG1 were the most frequently observed (16/18 men), but the highest concentrations were observed for IgG4 (median 1.89 μg/ml, interquartile range (IQR) [0.41-12.24]). In the men exposed to agalsidase, inhibition was correlated with the total IgG titer (r = 0.67, p < 0.0001), especially IgG4 (r = 0.75, p = 0.0005) and IgG2 (r = 0.72, p = 0.001). Inhibition was confirmed intracellularly in Fabry patient leucocytes cultured with IgG-positive versus negative serum (median: 42.0 vs 75.6%, p = 0.04), which was correlated with IgG2 (r = 0.67, p = 0.017, n = 12) and IgG4 levels (r = 0.59, p = 0.041, n = 12). Plasma LysoGb3 levels were correlated with total IgG (r = 0.66, p = 0.001), IgG2 (r = 0.72, p = 0.004), IgG4 (r = 0.58, p = 0.03) and IgG1 (r = 0.55, p = 0.04) titers. Within the classic group, no clinical difference was observed but lysoGb3 levels were higher in antibody-positive patients (median 33.2 ng/ml [IQR 20.6-55.6] vs 12.5 [10.1-24.0], p = 0.005).
Anti-agalsidase antibodies preferentially develop in the severe classic Fabry phenotype. They are frequently associated with enzyme inhibition and higher lysoGb3 levels. As such, they could be considered as a hallmark of severity associated with the classic phenotype. The distinction of the clinical phenotypes should now be mandatory in studies dealing with Fabry disease and its current and future therapies.