Fc-dependent effector functions are an important determinant of the in vivo potency of therapeutic antibodies. Effector function is determined by the combination of FcRs bound by the antibody and the cell expressing the relevant FcRs, leading to antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). A number of ADCC assays have been developed; however, they suffer from limitations in terms of throughput, reproducibility, and in vivo relevance. Existing assays measure NK cell-mediated ADCC activity; however, studies suggest that macrophages mediate the effector function of many antibodies in vivo. Here, we report the development of a macrophage-based ADCC assay that relies on luciferase expression in target cells as a measure of live cell number. In the presence of primary mouse macrophages and specific antibodies, loss of luciferase signal serves as a surrogate for ADCC-dependent killing. We show that the assay functions for a variety of mouse and human isotypes with a model antigen/antibody complex in agreement with the known effector function of the isotypes. We also use this assay to measure the activity of a number of influenza-specific antibodies and show that the assay correlates well with the known in vivo effector functions of these antibodies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number660
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2021


  • ADCC
  • Hemagglutinin
  • Influenza
  • Macrophage


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