Pharmaceutical Research

, 36:103 | Cite as

Differentiating the Effects of Oxidative Stress Tests on Biopharmaceuticals

  • Geoffrey A. Heinzl
  • Lo Lai
  • V. Ashutosh RaoEmail author
Research Paper



A rapid and broadly applicable method to assess relevant oxidative damage in biopharmaceuticals is important for lifecycle management of product quality. Multiple methods are currently employed as stress tests to induce oxidative damage for assessment of stability, safety, and efficacy. We compared two common methods for inducing oxidative damage to assess differences in impact on bioactivity and structure of the biopharmaceuticals.


Biopharmaceuticals were treated with either metal-catalyzed oxidation (MCO) conditions or the reactive-oxygen species (ROS) inducer 2,2′-Azobis(2-amidinopropane) dihydrochloride (AAPH), then analyzed for changes in structure and bioactivity.


We demonstrate that commonly used chemical methods for assessing oxidation yield distinct oxidation profiles for each of the biotechnology products analyzed, including monoclonal antibodies. We further report oxidant- and product-specific changes in bioactivity under oxidizing conditions, along with differential oxidation on the molecular subunits of monoclonal antibodies.


Our results highlight the need for product-specific optimization and selection of orthogonal, relevant oxidizers when characterizing stress responses in biopharmaceuticals.


AAPH biopharmaceuticals leachates metal-catalyzed oxidation protein oxidation 



2,2′-Azobis(2-amidinopropane) dihydrochloride


(4-amino)benzenesulfonic acid


antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity


4,4′-dianilino-1,1′-binaphthyl-5,5′-disulfonic acid






enzyme-linked immunosorbence assay


granulyte-colony stimulating factor


human serum albumin


liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry


metal-catalyzed oxidation


reactive oxygen species


reverse phase high-performance liquid chromatography


sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis







The authors thank Drs. Christopher J. Chang and Shixian Lin (University of California, Berkeley) for the generous donation of Ox4 probe for these studies, as well as Perry Beamer (FDA) for his assistance in adapting the DOPA formation assay for quantitation. The authors would also like to thank Dr. Dmitry Kryndushkin (FDA) for helpful discussions regarding amyloid-like structures and Dr. Darón Freedburg (FDA) for assistance with the circular dichroism studies. Drs. Rong-Fong Shen and Wells Wu (FDA) are thanked for assistance with mass spectrometry analyses. The authors are further indebted to Dr. Jeffrey Baker for discussions, as well as Drs. Delaram Moshkelani and Baikuntha Aryal (FDA) for critical reading of the manuscript. This work was funded in part by an appointment to the Research Participation Program at the Office of Biotechnology Products, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration administered by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education through an interagency agreement between the U.S. Department of Energy and the FDA. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Author Contributions

G.A.H., L.L. and V.A.R. conceived the experiments. G.A.H.and L.L. performed the experiments and analysis. G.A.H. and V.A.R. wrote the manuscript.

Supplementary material

11095_2019_2627_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (678 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 677 kb)


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and its text is not subject to copyright protection in the United States; however, its text may be subject to foreign copyright protection  2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Applied Biochemistry, Division of Biotechnology Research and Review III, Office of Biotechnology Products, Office of Pharmaceutical QualityCenter for Drug Evaluation and Research, Food and Drug AdministrationSilver SpringUSA

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