Housing conditions and microbial environment do not affect the efficacy of vaccines for treatment of opioid use disorders in mice and rats

Bethany Crouse, Li Zhang, Christine Robinson, Yuguang Ban, Jennifer R. Vigliaturo, Sabita Roy, Marco Pravetoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Vaccines offer a promising prophylactic and therapeutic intervention to counteract opioid use disorders (OUD) and fatal overdoses. Vaccines generate opioid-specific antibodies that bind the target opioid, reducing drug distribution to the brain and preventing drug-induced behavioral and pharmacological effects. Due to their selectivity, anti-opioid vaccines can be administered in combination with FDA-approved medications. Because patients with OUD or other substance use disorders may be affected by other multifactorial co-morbidities, such as infection or depression, it is important to test whether vaccine efficacy is modified by factors that may impact individual innate or adaptive immunity. To that end, this study tested whether housing conditions would affect the efficacy of two lead vaccine formulations targeting oxycodone and fentanyl in male mice and rats, and further analyzed whether differences in the gastrointestinal (GI) microbiome would be correlated with either vaccine efficacy or housing conditions. Results showed that housing mice and rats in either conventional (non-controlled) or specific pathogen-free (SPF, sterile barrier maintained) environment did not affect vaccine-induced antibody responses against oxycodone and fentanyl, nor their efficacy against oxycodone- and fentanyl-induced antinociception, respiratory depression, and bradycardia. Differences in the GI microbiome detected via 16S rRNA gene sequencing were related to the housing environment. This study supports use of anti-opioid vaccines in clinical populations that may display deficits in microbiome function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4383-4392
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics
Issue number11
Early online dateAug 19 2021
StatePublished - Aug 19 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by U01DA038876 (MP), T32DA007097 (BC), R01DA047089 (SR), and R01DA044582 (SR).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Opioids
  • environment
  • housing
  • microbiome
  • therapy
  • vaccine

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural


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