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Primary cold agglutinin disease (CAD) is a monoclonal antibody (M-protein) and complement-mediated chronic hemolytic disease process. Antibody glycosylation can play a role in both antibody half-life and complement fixation. Recently, M-protein light chain (LC) glycosylation has been shown to be associated with AL amyloidosis. We hypothesized that M-protein LC glycosylation is also associated with cold agglutinin (CA) titers and CA-mediated hemolysis. A cross-sectional study of patients undergoing CA titer evaluation underwent mass spectrometric analysis for M-proteins and M-protein LC glycosylation. A subset of serum samples also underwent evaluation for the ability to trigger cold hemolysis in vitro. M-protein and M-protein LC glycosylation rates were compared across CA titer groups, clinical diagnosis, direct antiglobulin testing (DAT) results, and cold in vitro hemolysis rates. Both M-protein and M-protein LC glycosylation rates significantly differed across CA titer groups with the highest rates in those with elevated CA titers. M-protein LC glycosylation occurred almost exclusively on IgM kappa M-proteins and was significantly associated with positive DAT results and a clinical diagnosis of CAD. Cold in vitro hemolysis was demonstrated in two patients who both had a CA titer of more than 512 but there was no significant association with CA titer group or M-protein LC glycosylation status. M-protein LC glycosylation is significantly associated with higher CA titer levels. Given the role that antibody glycosylation can play in antibody half-life and complement fixation, further studies are needed to clarify the effects of LC glycosylation within the context of CAD. © 2021 AABB.


Justin E Juskewitch, Josiah D Murray, Andrew P Norgan, Sheila K Moldenhauer, Craig D Tauscher, Eapen K Jacob, David L Murray. In from the cold: M-protein light chain glycosylation is positively associated with cold agglutinin titer levels. Transfusion. 2021 Apr;61(4):1302-1311

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PMID: 33502021

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