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Vaccine. 2011 Jan 10;29(3):417-25. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2010.11.005. Epub 2010 Nov 16.

An α-GalCer analogue with branched acyl chain enhances protective immune responses in a nasal influenza vaccine.

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Laboratory of Immunology, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-742, Republic of Korea.


α-Galactosylceramide (α-GalCer) is a safe and effective adjuvant for nasal vaccines and induces protective immune responses against tumors and viral infections. In our previous study, the fatty acyl chains of α-GalCer were modified based on the CD1d/glycolipid structure to generate α-GalCer analogues with branched acyl chains. In this study, two α-GalCer analogues, KBC-007 and KBC-009, that have different branched chain lengths were prepared and evaluated for their efficacy as nasal influenza vaccine adjuvants. These analogues displayed improved solubility over α-GalCer and potently stimulated NKT cells in both murine and in vitro human systems. Examination of serum cytokines in vivo revealed that these analogues elicited different cytokine release profiles compared to α-GalCer. KBC-009 induced both Th1/Th2 cytokines, whereas KBC-007 induced a more Th2-polarized cytokine response with diminished IFN-γ production. We found that a single immunization of inactivated influenza virus A/PR/8/34 (PR8) combined with α-GalCer analogues enhanced PR8-specific humoral and cellular immune responses in both systemic and mucosal compartments. Notably, KBC-009 exhibited potent adjuvant effects, inducing significantly higher systemic IgG and mucosal IgA antibody titers and enhancing cytotoxic T lymphocyte generation when compared to immunization with inactivated PR8 alone. In contrast, addition of KBC-007 to inactivated PR8 only marginally increased PR8-specific immune responses. The protective effect of KBC-009 against challenge infection was comparable to the effect produced by α-GalCer. These results suggest that an α-GalCer analogue with a branched acyl chain could be used as an effective mucosal adjuvant for the induction of protective immune responses against influenza virus infection.

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