Development of nanoparticle based nicotine vaccines for smoking cessation


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Virginia Tech


Cigarette smoking is prevalent worldwide and has consistently been the top preventable cause of many serious diseases., which result in huge mortality, morbidity, and economic loss, in recent decades. In recent years, nicotine vaccines that can induce production of nicotine specific antibodies in human have emerged as a promising medicine to treat tobacco addiction. In the past decade, there have been numerous nicotine vaccine candidates evaluated in human clinical trials, including NicVaxNicVAX®, TA-NICTA-NIC®, Nic002NIC002®, NiccineNiccine®, and SEL-068SEL-068®. . However, traditional nicotine vaccine designs haves many disadvantages, including low immunogenicity, low specificity, difficulty in integration of molecular adjuvants, and short immune response persistence. To overcome the above limitations, in this study, various nanoparticle-based vaccine delivery systemsvaccine componentss have been developed and evaluated as potential delivery vehicles for vaccines against nicotine addiction.

Firstly, a nicotine vaccine was synthesized by conjugating bovine serum albumin (BSA)-nicotine complex to the surface of nano-sized cationic liposome. Significantly higher anti-nicotine antibody titer was achieved in mice by liposome delivered nicotine vaccine compared with nicotine-BSA vaccine.

Secondly, a novel nanoparticle (NP)-based delivery platform was constructed by incorporating a negatively charged nanohorn into cationic liposome to improve the stability of liposome and reduce nanoparticle flocculation. Subsequently, nicotine vaccine was constructed by conjugating nicotine-BSA complex to the surface of the nanohorn supported liposome (NsL). Marked improvement in stability in vitro and significant increase in titer of anti-nicotine antibodies were detected in nanohorn supported liposome ( NsL) delivered vaccine than liposome delivered vaccine. In addition, NsL nicotine vaccine exhibited good safety in mice after multiple injections.

Thirdly, lipid- poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) hybrid NPs were constructed as vaccine delivery system. due to the fact that nanohorn is not currently approved for clinical use, we substituted the nanohorn with poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticles and constructed PLGA-lipid hybrid nanoparticles. Preliminary results showed that PLGA-lipid hybrid NPs nanoparticles exhibited improved stability, better controlled release of antigens, as well as enhanced uptake by dendritic cell (DC). A lipid-PLGA hybrid NPnanoparticle was also developed that was structurally responsive to low pH challenge. The lipid shell of the hybrid nanoparticle was rapidly disintegrated under a low pH challenge, which resembles the acidic environment of endosomes in DCsdendritic cells. The hybrid NPs exhibited minimal antigen release in human serum at physiological pH, but a faster release of antigen from this NP compared to non-pH sensitive NPs was observed in DC.

In the final study, hybrid NPnanoparticles with various cholesterol concentrations were constructed. Slower and more controlled release of antigens in both human serum and phosphate buffered saline were detected in nanoparticles with higher cholesterol content. However, nanoparticles containing higher cholesterol showed poorer stability due to increase fusion among NPnanoparticles. It was later found that PEGylation of NPs can effectively minimize fusion caused size increase after long term storage, leading to improved cellular uptake.

The findings from this study on the nanohorn-lipids based nicotine vaccine as well as lipid-PLGA hybrid NPs may provide solid basis for future development of lipid-PLGA based nicotine vaccine.



nicotine vaccine, nanoparticle, smoking cessation, liposome, humoral response