Factors that Affect the Immunogenicity of Lipid-PLGA Nanoparticle-Based Nanovaccines against Nicotine Addiction

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Virginia Tech


Tobacco smoking has consistently been the leading cause of preventable diseases and premature deaths. Currently, pharmacological interventions have only shown limited smoking cessation efficacy and sometimes are associated with severe side effects. As an alternative, nicotine vaccines have emerged as a promising strategy to combating nicotine addiction. However, conventional conjugate nicotine vaccines have shown limited ability to induce a sufficiently strong immune response due to their intrinsic shortfalls.

In this study, a lipid-poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanoparticle-based next-generation nicotine vaccine has been developed to overcome the drawbacks of conjugate nicotine vaccines. Also, the influence of multiple factors, including nanoparticle size, hapten density, hapten localization, carrier protein, and molecular adjuvants, on its immunogenicity has been investigated. Results indicated that all these studied factors significantly affected the immunological efficacy of the nicotine nanovaccine. First, 100 nm nanovaccine was found to elicit a significantly higher anti-nicotine antibody titer than the 500 nm nanovaccine. Secondly, the high-density nanovaccine exhibited a better immunological efficacy than the low- and medium-density counterparts. Thirdly, the nanovaccine with hapten localized on both carrier protein and nanoparticle surface induced a significantly higher anti-nicotine antibody titer and had a considerably better ability to block nicotine from entering the brain of mice than the nanovaccines with hapten localized only on carrier protein or nanoparticle surface. Fourthly, the nanovaccines carrying cross reactive materials 197 (CRM197) or tetanus toxoid (TT) showed a better immunological efficacy than the nanovaccines using keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) or KLH subunit as carrier proteins. Finally, the co-delivery of monophosphoryl lipid A (MPLA) and Resiquimod (R848) achieved a considerably higher antibody titer and brain nicotine reduction than only using MPLA or R848 alone as adjuvants.

Collectively, the findings from this study may lead to a better understanding of the impact of multiple factors on the immunological efficacy of the hybrid nanoparticle-based nicotine nanovaccine. The findings may also provide significant guidance for the development of other drug abuse and nanoparticle-based vaccines. In addition, the optimized lipid-PLGA hybrid nanoparticle-based nicotine nanovaccine obtained by modulating the studied factors can be a promising candidate as the next-generation nicotine vaccine for treating nicotine addiction.



nicotine addiction, nicotine vaccine, nanoparticle, anti-nicotine antibody, smoking cessation, poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid), liposome