Vaccines may offer a new treatment strategy for opioid use disorders and opioid-related overdoses. To speed translation, this study evaluates opioid conjugate vaccines containing components suitable for pharmaceutical manufacturing and compares analytical assays for conjugate characterization. Three oxycodone-based haptens (OXY) containing either PEGylated or tetraglycine [(Gly)4] linkers were conjugated to a keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) carrier protein via carbodiimide (EDAC) or maleimide chemistry. The EDAC-conjugated OXY(Gly)4-KLH was most effective in reducing oxycodone distribution to the brain in mice. Vaccine efficacy was T cell-dependent. The lead OXY hapten was conjugated to the KLH, tetanus toxoid, diphtheria cross-reactive material (CRM), as well as the E. coli-expressed CRM (EcoCRM) and nontoxic tetanus toxin heavy chain fragment C (rTTHc) carrier proteins. All vaccines induced early hapten-specific B cell expansion and showed equivalent efficacy against oxycodone in mice. However, some hapten-protein conjugates were easier to characterize for molecular weight and size. Finally, heroin vaccines formulated with either EcoCRM or KLH were equally effective in reducing heroin-induced antinociception and distribution to the brain of heroin and its metabolites in mice. This study identifies vaccine candidates and vaccine components for further development.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Drs. Maria Luisa Gelmi and Francesca Clerici for establishing an institutional and educational agreement between the Facolt? di Scienze del Farmaco, Universit? degli Studi di Milano, and the University of Minnesota Medical School.
- carrier protein
- conjugate vaccine