Recombinant monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) intended for therapeutic usage are required to be thoroughly characterized, which has promoted an extensive effort towards the understanding of the structures and heterogeneity of this major class of molecules. Batch consistency and comparability are highly relevant to the successful pharmaceutical development of mAbs and related products. Small structural modifications that contribute to molecule variants (or proteoforms) differing in size, charge or hydrophobicity have been identified. These modifications may impact (or not) the stability, pharmacokinetics, and efficacy of mAbs. The presence of the same type of modifications as found in endogenous immunoglobulin G (IgG) can substantially lower the safety risks of mAbs. The knowledge of modifications is also critical to the ranking of critical quality attributes (CQAs) of the drug and define the Quality Target Product Profile (QTPP). This review provides a summary of the current understanding of post-translational and physico-chemical modifications identified in recombinant mAbs and endogenous IgGs at physiological conditions.
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