Contribution of antibody-mediated effector functions to the mechanism of efficacy of vaccines for opioid use disorders

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6 Scopus citations


Vaccines and mAbs offer promising strategies to treat substance use disorders (SUDs) and prevent overdose. Despite vaccines and mAbs against SUDs demonstrating proof of efficacy, selectivity, and safety in animal models, it is unknown whether the mechanism of action of these immunotherapeutics relies exclusively on the formation of Ab/drug complexes, or also involves Abmediated effector functions. Hence, this study tested whether the efficacy of active and passive immunization against drugs of abuse requires phagocytosis, the intact Fc portion of the anti-drug Ab, FcγRs, or the neonatal FcR (FcRn). The efficacy of a lead vaccine against oxycodone was not diminished in mice after depletion of macrophages or granulocytes. Anti-oxycodone F(ab')2 fragments resulted in lower serum levels of F(ab')2 compared with intact mAbs, and F(ab')2s were not as effective as the parent mAbs in reducing distribution of oxycodone to the brain. The efficacy of vaccines and mAbs against oxycodone was preserved in either FcγIII or FcγI-IV ablated mice, suggesting that FcγRs are not required for Ab efficacy. Finally, both active and passive immunization against oxycodone in FcRn-/- mice yielded reduced efficacy compared with wild-type control mice. These data identified a role for FcRn, but not for phagocytosis or Fc-dependent effector functions, in mediating the efficacy of vaccines and mAbs against SUD. This study supports rational design of vaccines and mAbs engineered for maximal neutralization activity and optimal FcRn binding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)860-867
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Institute on Drug Abuse Grant R01DA041730 (to M.P.) and by National Institutes of Health Grants T32DA037183 (to A.M.H.K.) and T32DA007097 (to C.A.B.).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc. All rights reserved.


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