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Nanomedicine. 2019 Jun 7:102023. doi: 10.1016/j.nano.2019.102023. [Epub ahead of print]

Alum as an adjuvant for nanoparticle based vaccines: A case study with a hybrid nanoparticle-based nicotine vaccine.

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Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, U.S.A.
Minneapolis Medical Research Foundation, Minneapolis, MN 55404, United States.
Department of Biomedical Sciences and Pathobiology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061.
Department of Biological Systems Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061, U.S.A.. Electronic address:


The treatment efficacy of a nicotine vaccine largely relies on its ability to induce high titers of nicotine-specific antibodies. Due to its strong immune-potentiating effects, aluminum salt (Alum) has been commonly used as an adjuvant in various nicotine vaccine formulations. In this study, we attempted to improve the immunological performance of a hybrid nanoparticle-based nicotine vaccine (NanoNicVac) by co-administering it with Alum. It was found that Alum severely restricted the release of NanoNicVac at the site of injection. Moreover, Alum damaged the hybrid structure of the vaccine. In the animal trial, mice immunized with NanoNicVac alone achieved an anti-nicotine IgG titer of 3.5±0.2×104 after three injections. Unexpectedly, Alum with quantities of 125, 250, 500, and 1000μg did not enhance the immunogenicity of NanoNicVac. In addition, Alum did not improve the ability of the vaccine to reduce the entry of nicotine into the brain.


Adjuvant; Alum; Antibody; Hybrid nanoparticle; Nicotine vaccine


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