Modulation of the Hydration Water Around Monoclonal Antibodies on Addition of Excipients Detected by Terahertz Time-Domain Spectroscopy.
Terahertz time-domain spectroscopy (THz-TDS) has been shown to detect overlapping extended hydration layers around proteins. Here, we used THz-TDS to detect modulation of the extended hydration layer around monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) by the introduction of commonly used excipients. Proline and sucrose altered the hydration layer around a mAb (mAb1), which was observed as a negative shift in the plateau in absorbance above ~100 mg/mL mAb1 (~70,000 water molecules per mAb); arginine had no effect. At lower concentrations of ~10 mg/mL mAb1 (~700,000 water molecules per mAb) proline and arginine modulated the hydration layer, which was observed as a negative shift in the relative absorbance, whereas sucrose had no effect. The changes in the extended hydration layer were not translated to shifts in the thermal stability or protein:protein interaction parameter. The hydration layer of a second mAb (mAb2) was further shown to be modulated by more complex formulations composed of two or more excipients; although the differences in terahertz absorbance were not predictive of viscosity or long-term stability. THz-TDS promises to be a useful tool for understanding a protein's interaction with excipients in solution and the challenge will be to determine how to apply this knowledge to protein formulation.